Under an old foam mattress in one of Monrovia's slums, Niome David keeps a dark memento -- the underwear her nine-year-old daughter was wearing the night she was raped. The mother refuses to wash out the blood stain, keeping it as proof of the brutality her child endured. In a nation inured to violence, the fact that she knew to preserve evidence is also, somehow, a sign of hope.
The Liberian government has lifted a self-imposed moratorium on the mining, sale and export of diamonds that had been in place for six years, officials said on Saturday. Deputy Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy Kpandeh Fayia said that, "as of Monday, people can start applying for mining, selling and broker licences" for the stones.
Thousands of Liberians on Monday lined the road from airport to the seaside capital, Monrovia, to welcome their leader back from a donors' conference where she secured a massive debt-relief deal. Villagers and residents of small towns along the 50km road from Roberts International Airport came out to praise President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for a "job well done".
Liberia on Monday resumed diamond trading after lifting a self-imposed ban on the gems, officials said. The embargo imposed four years ago had been in line with a United Nations ban on the country's diamonds, blamed for fuelling a barbaric 14-year civil war in the resource-rich West African nation.
West African military chiefs have charged that the United States has failed to consult adequately with countries that will be affected by a planned American military command for Africa. The group said the plan "had not been fully understood" by African countries.
United States President George Bush, winding up a trip to Africa, promised war-scarred Liberia that the US will see its staunchest ally on the continent out of "days of challenge and sorrow". Bush vowed sustained US help to battle poverty and disease as well as an education initiative.
Liberia President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf appealed for honesty on Tuesday as her war-racked West African country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) began its public hearings. "I call upon all Liberians to respond to the TRC when they are invited," Johnson-Sirleaf said at the start of proceedings in an opening ceremony in Monrovia.
A criminal court has ordered the arrest of Liberia's ex-president Gyude Bryant on allegations that he embezzled $1,3-million while in office. Bryant, who led the nation for two years as a transitional president following the end of Liberia's 14-year civil war, stepped down in 2005 after Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf won democratic presidential elections.
Sanctions against former Liberian president Charles Taylor and his entourage are impairing his ability to defend himself against war-crimes charges, his lawyer said on Wednesday. The sanctions are having a "chilling effect" as witnesses sympathetic to Taylor are afraid to come forward, said the lawyer.
Liberian authorities investigating a possible coup plot have discovered a large cache of new AK-47 ammunition in a town on the main road to CÃ´te d'Ivoire, police said on Monday. Police spokesperson Alvin Jask Kanneh said it was too early to say whether the cache was linked to an alleged scheme to smuggle weapons into Liberia from CÃ´te d'Ivoire.
The world's largest charity hospital ship docked in Liberia on Wednesday to begin a mission to bring free healthcare to Africa. The 80-bed Africa Mercy, a former Danish rail ferry converted into a hospital ship, will spend several months treating patients in Monrovia port before moving on to Sierra Leone.
A Liberian Cabinet minister has resigned following the publication of pictures showing him having sex with two unidentified women, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said. Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Willis Knuckles tendered his resignation on Sunday, Johnson-Sirleaf said in statement.
Thousands of cheering Liberians lined the streets of the capital Monrovia on Thursday to greet Chinese President Hu Jintao, who pledged more than $35-million to aid recovery after one of Africa's most ruinous civil wars. China has been offering low interest loans, debt relief and other incentives to increase its influence on the world's poorest continent.