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On this date in 2003, the Liberian conflict continued. In Monrovia, peacekeepers confronted gunmen on a burning, shooting, and looting rampage.
This conflict occurred on Liberia’s bloodiest day since an August 2003 peace agreement. The violence was started by militiamen loyal to ousted President Charles Taylor. They demanded cash in exchange for giving up their guns. It was the first serious threat to a United Nations-backed disarmament project. The fighting killed at least nine Liberians. U.N. peacekeepers marked the first casualty of their two-and-a-half-month-old Liberia mission.
The Liberian Civil War began in 1999 and ended in October 2003. ECOWAS intervened to stop the rebel siege on Monrovia and exiled Charles Taylor to Nigeria until he was arrested in 2006 and taken to The Hague for trial. By the conclusion of the final war, more than 250,000 people had been killed and nearly 1 million displaced.
Half that number was to be repatriated in 2005, at the election of Liberia's first democratic President since the initial 1980 coup d'état of Samuel Doe. The incumbent Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who initially strongly supported Charles Taylor, was inaugurated in January 2006, and the National Transitional Government of Liberia terminated its power.