Liberia ranked # 103 in the world by 111,369 area (km.) without including the West Point area, which has been washed away (almost 10% of land) by the Ocean. And also West Point is one of the worst slums in the Liberian capital, Monrovia. Liberia's slum communities include West Point, Slipway, Jallah’s Town, Saye Town and Plunkor. Approximately, according to the Census results, 194,000 dwellers in these randomly built dilapidated houses and zinc shacks without toilet facilities or enough spacing in between to allow sanitary workers reach homes at the rear of those communities to collect garbage.
These people have also built more than 500 makeshift toilets along the bank of the River; thus increasing the unsanitary nature of their dwelling places. To make matter worse, they also dispose of their garbage and other waste materials directly into the River, which in turn, serves as breeding ground for tones of mosquitoes and flies.
So what is being done to help?
The high rate of disease, drugs, prostitution, violent crime, erosion and rape leave West Point looking like hell on earth. One might wonder what the UN and the government are doing about the situation. Not too much it seems. The UN workers that have been posted in Monrovia have even been accused of raping locals themselves.
There are a few grassroots organizations that have been started such as the West Point Women’s Action Group organized by a group of women from the area in 2005. These women work very hard to make things to sell at market in order to raise money for the group’s basic costs. There are various other small institutions like some medical clinics and lawyers groups who also try to help those who have been raped deal with their trauma.
Ellen Position On West Point
The Liberia leader, President Ellen Johnson visited the West Point area on
September 2010 including Vice president of Libera Joseph Boakai. President Ellen described the situation in West Point as difficult. The Liberian leader expressed concern over the over-crowdedness of the community and the sanitary conditions there. “The roads are not in good condition; the houses are overcrowded, the sanitary conditions; there are many children – we don’t know whether they are in school,” the President observed.
With all Cabinet members riding together in a bus to West Point, the President said the Cabinet was visiting the community to get an overview following which targeted agencies of Government will meet with authorities of the Borough, along with the Superintendent, to see what can be done to address the problem in West Point. “We just want to see the situation; we will evaluate the situation; we will get a committee to look at it; work with the leaders in the community; and then we’ll see how we can develop a plan – short-term, medium- term, and long-term, to be able to bring some relief to them,” the President stated.
On the question of the relocation of West Point, the President said an assessment has to be made before a determination can be made. She, however, made it clear that Government has no policy decision at the moment regarding the relocation of West Point. She said West Point is a fishing community and that factor must be taken in consideration.
The Liberian leader has visited West Point several times since she assumed the presidency more than four years ago, but Friday’s unannounced visit to the area by an entire Liberian Cabinet was the first in recent memory.
ZWEDRU, Liberia - Liberia will extradite to the Ivory Coast 41 Ivorians accused of taking part in deadly post-election violence in their homeland that killed more than 3,000 people and uprooted a million from their homes, a Liberian court has ruled.
The decision follows mounting pressure on Liberia from the Ivorian government and human rights groups to tackle cross-border attacks said to be committed by supporters of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo and Liberian mercenaries based in the forest region near the western Ivorian border.
This month 18 people - including seven U.N. peacekeepers - were killed in an ambush Ivory Coast has blamed on fighters from Liberia.
A court in the remote eastern Liberian town of Zwedru, near the Ivorian border, ordered the extradition late on Thursday. It is due to be carried out within 30 days.
The Liberian state prosecutor charged the men with mercenary activities after they crossed the border with a large quantity of arms in July 2011, according to a petition for extradition filed last month.
While many Gbagbo supporters and fighters laid down their weapons or were captured, others fled to neighbouring countries where the current Ivorian government says they have been plotting to destabilise the country.
Gbagbo is at the International Criminal Court at the Hague facing war crimes charges. He refused to cede power following a 2010 election which he lost, opening old wounds that plunged the country into a six-month civil conflict.
He was finally captured after troops backing current President Alassane Ouattara, with the support of U.N. and French forces, stormed the presidential palace in Abidjan.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a report earlier this month, criticising Liberia for not doing enough to apprehend those accused of mercenary activities, massacres and human rights violations during Ivory Coast's post-election crisis.
Among them is Isaac Sayou Chegbo (alias Bob Marley) an ex-Liberian rebel leader implicated in overseeing two massacres in Ivory Coast in which more than 100 people were killed, according to the HRW report.
Mali's Dioncounda Traore was sworn in as interim president of the West African country on Thursday after leaders of a March 22 coup agreed to hand back power to civilians. Traore, previously the speaker of the national parliament, was sworn in by Supreme Court President Nouhoum Tapily at a brief ceremony in the capital Bamako.
He faces the uphill task of organising new elections in the mostly desert state, where Tuareg-led rebels and Islamist allies earlier this month seized the northern half of the country in a lightning advance made in the aftermath of the coup.
"I am president of a country that loves peace," Traore, 70, who donned a presidential sash over his dark suit, said after the swearing-in.
"I call on the rebels to halt all abuses," added Traore, a labour activist who was jailed for opposing Mali's dictatorship in the 1980s but went on to hold a number of cabinet posts after the launch of multi-party politics in the country in the 1990s.
Mali's north, a zone larger than France, has been hit by pillaging and reports of human rights abuses including rapes and killings since the rebel seizures of key towns including the ancient trading post of Timbuktu and the garrison town of Gao.
Mali's neighbours and security experts fear this heralds the emergence of a new "rogue state" providing a haven for local al Qaeda allies and Islamists who are currently seeking to impose sharia law on the parts of northern territory they control.
Leaders of the Tuareg-led separatist rebels have distanced themselves from their Islamist companions-in-arms. They have declared a secular Tuareg homeland of "Azawad" in northern Mali - a secession bid that has been snubbed by the world.
50 have been killed and dozens injured in Libya as tribal groups are fighting in the country’s south. After the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is left in a condition which some residents call a ‘non state’.
The fighting between rival armed militias, ongoing since Sunday, has spilled into the center of Libya’s third largest city of Sabha on Tuesday. The country’s National Transitional Council initially sent out 300 of its troops to calm the situation but the contingent had to be reinforced two-fold, Reuters said.
However, there are reports that the national army may have retreated from the city. "We know that they are here to try to solve the problem and not fight," Sabha fighter Oweidat al-Hifnawi told the agency. "There are unconfirmed reports that they have retreated out of the city."
The fighting resulted in the resignation of an NTC representative to Sabha, Abdulmajid Saif al-Nasser. He said that he was leaving his post as the council proved unable, or unwilling, to curb the violence.
"I have not seen any reaction from the Council to what is happening now in Sabha. The air force has not been sent out, there was only a plane from the health ministry carrying medicine," he said. "The state is supposed to intervene in these cases but there is no state."
The ongoing fighting started after a man from the Tibu tribe allegedly killed a member of the Sabha tribe. The country’s Health Ministry confirmed that most of the 50 dead, already killed in the clashes, perished from gunshot and shrapnel wounds. 160 more have been left injured.
The National Transitional Council, which came to power after the ouster of the country’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi, is struggling to establish its control over the whole of Libya. The council is trying to persuade tribal militias, busy with fighting over power and resources in the uncontrolled country, to lay down their arms and join national army and police.
The lawlessness Libya has plunged into is the direct result of how the current government came into power, Oxford-based freelance journalist Neil Clark told RT.
“The main problem is that Libya is awash with arms. And who is to blame for this? It’s the Western powers, who gave these arms to the rebels to topple Gaddafi. And now you have different tribal militias all heavily armed. You have got a very week divided government in Tripoli, which cannot control its territory. You have got a real recipe for anarchy at the moment,” he explained.
“The main Western news channels are not covering the story the way they are not covering Iraq. In the end of the story Gaddafi is gone, and they are really not interested in reporting what’s going on, which is a human rights catastrophe,” he added.
A US Africa Command official confirmed on Friday the leader of military coup d’état in Mali has visited the US on several occasions, receiving professional military education. Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo participated in the America’s International Military Education and Training program, sponsored by the US State Department, Public Affairs representative Patrick Barnes revealed to The Washington Post.
Foreign officers are handpicked for the program by US embassies in respective countries. The Malian army is very small, consisting of only 7,000 personnel. With the given small number of officers in this army, it is no wonder that Sanogo had a good chance to get to the US.
On March 22, just a month before a presidential election in the country, Sanogo and soldiers loyal to him stormed the presidential palace in the capital Bamako and overthrew President Amadou Toumani Toure.
The reason for the rebellion was stated as the existing leadership’s relaxed attitude towards Touareg tribes’ insurrection in this north-western African country.
The coup claimed three lives, leaving about 40 wounded. Amadou Haya Sanogo has made a statement saying he is not going to stay in power for long. He promised that as soon as the army manages to contain a Tuareg insurgency in the northern part of the country a new election will be called.
The captain said he will be glad to continue to serve in the army after the election. He also claimed the country’s deposed president is being held safely not far from the capital, and promised to bring Amadou Toumani Toure to court.
Rebel soldiers are currently busy looting throughout the city of Bamako. Sanogo denounced their actions, blaming the looting on "ill-intentioned individuals" trying to turn public opinion against the coup. Despite condemning the coup, the US is not planning to reconsider its $140-million aid program to Mali in 2012.
Conversely, on Friday the African Union suspended Mali’s membership of that organization.