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On this date in 2003, American President George W. Bush ordered an unspecified number of U.S. forces to be positioned off the coast of war-torn Liberia.
This was to assist West African peacekeepers after artillery shells crashed into the U.S. Embassy compound and refugee-crowded neighborhoods around it, killing more than two dozen civilians. The Liberian rebels declared another cease-fire shortly after the announcement. The White House statement also reiterated Bush’s insistence that Liberian President Charles Taylor, sought by a U.N.-backed court for alleged war crimes in neighboring Sierra Leone, "must leave."
Taylor, a warlord-turned-president behind 14 years of near-continuous conflict in Liberia, promised to step down when foreign peacekeepers arrive but has hedged on those promises.