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Warring Liberians Form Government to Rule Until Elections

August 17, 1993| From Associated Press

COTONOU, Benin — The warring sides in Liberia's civil war formed an interim government Monday to rule until free elections can be held under the terms of a peace accord.

The three main factions each chose a representative for the five-member ruling council. Two at-large members were selected by the factions from a list of three names they had nominated.

The five council members, a cross-section of prominent Liberians, planned to select a president and two vice presidents from among themselves.

All three factions were careful to pick non-controversial people removed from the atrocities of one of Africa's most appalling conflicts, one that has left at least 150,000 people dead.

Under the U.N.-brokered peace plan signed July 25, the interim government will rule for seven months until free elections can be held. One of the more sensitive aspects of the peace plan still remains: the U.N.-supervised disarmament of the warring factions.

The rebel movement of Charles Taylor, which began the war in late 1989, picked Dorothy Musuleng Cooper, respected education minister in Taylor's guerrilla government, for the council.

The current interim government of President Amos Sawyer, which was installed by a West African coalition force sent in to crush Taylor's rebellion, chose Bismarck Kuyon, Speaker of the present interim legislature.

The United Liberation Movement, a rebel faction loosely allied with Taylor's enemies, selected Mohammed Sheriff, a former official of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in Paris.

The two at-large members of the ruling council are David Kpomakpor, a former Supreme Court justice, and Thomas Ziah, an engineer.

An Aug. 1 cease-fire has largely held, but hundreds of refugees pinned down at the front lines are reported dying weekly in remote areas. Relief agencies have been rushing aid to the regions.

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