UN approves force to impose arms ban on Liberian factions


Mark Huband in Nairobi

The Guardian, 21 November 1992


THE United Nations Security Council approved the use of force yesterday to impose an arms embargo on warring factions in Liberia, hours after it banned arms shipments to all but the west African peacekeeping force which is under attack from rebels.

In a unanimous vote late on Thursday night, the council approved Resolution 788, imposing a mandatory arms embargo intended to support the 15,000-strong, Nigerian-led, multinational peacekepping force which was engaged in further fierce fighting yesterday around the capital, Monrovia, under siege by the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) led by Charles Taylor.

However, doubts were expressed as to the immediate benefits of the embargo. The US ambassador to the UN, Edward Perkins, said: “The problems which plague Liberia – proliferation of weapons, insecurity and banditry, ethnic tensions, huge numbers of refugees and a shattered economy – will not all yield to military solutions. Peace without disarmament is tenuous at best.”

The council also called on all warring parties to honour a ceasefire set by west African presidents on October 7, and obey a peace accord signed by all parties including Mr Taylor in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast, last November.

During fighting on Wednesday, Nigerian artillery shot at Guinean troops of the west African force by mistake, causing some casualties but no deaths, officers revealed yesterday.

It is the first incident of “friendly fire” since fighting since broke out when NPFL forces started a siege of the city on October 15.

© Guardian Newspapers Limited