Liberia is due to hold general and presidential elections in October this year, but rebels fighting the government for the past four years cannot wait. Knowing that they have no chance through the ballot box, the Liberian United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) rebel movement has stepped up the fighting in recent weeks, intending to chase President Charles Taylor's government out of the capital, Monrovia, before the elections are held.
The rebels made some significant gains in February, capturing Tubmanburg and Robertsport, two key towns on the western side of the country. Although government troops have since recaptured the two towns, the renewed attacks have triggered fears that the October elections may be jeopardised.
But President Taylor insists that "there will be no U-turn from the democratic process", and has called on the rebels to put down their guns and establish a political party and contest the elections.
In a live television address to the...