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Liberia6 May 2003

Journalist missing for more than a month

Reporters Without Borders expressed concern today about the disappearance more than a month ago of William Quiwea, correspondent of the radio station Talking Drum Studio-Liberia, during attacks by rebels of the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) movement in several provincial capitals. He was based in Zwedru, in the southwestern county of Grand Gedeh.

The organisation called on the authorities on 9 April to make every effort to find him through a serious and impartial enquiry. "At a time when the population is the victim of widespread attacks by armed rebels, the government must take effective steps to ensure the safety of journalists, who are very valuable for Liberians," Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard had said.

Other journalists who vanished at the same time as Quiwea have since reappeared. Grody Dorbor, editor of The Inquirer newspaper, contacted his family on 9 April to say he had taken refuge on the Ivorian border. He has still not returned to Monrovia.

Oscar Dolo and Nyahn Flomo, also local correspondents of Talking Drum Studio-Liberia, disappeared in the rebel areas but turned up in a forest in Nimba county on 15 April and then returned to Monrovia. Government troops had reportedly harassed them as they fled the fighting. They seized their motorcycles and are still demanding $200 for them to be returned. The journalists said however they had not been harmed physically by either government or rebel forces.

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