Liberia

Liberian rebels advance near capital - sources

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MONROVIA, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Rebels advanced within striking distance of Liberia's capital on Tuesday during fierce battles against President Charles Taylor's troops, security sources said.
They said fighting raged at Cheesmanburg, just 18 km (11 miles) from the outskirts of Monrovia on a road heading north. Witnesses saw thousands of civilians with bundles fleeing towards the city.

"The fighting is very serious," one military officer told Reuters on the outskirts of Monrovia. "One of our commanders' vehicles was just ambushed and some men got wounded, but the commander lived."

Rebels of Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) have been fighting since 2000 to overthrow Taylor, a former warlord who won elections after the end of seven years of civil war in the 1990s.

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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