From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Liberian bishop to relocate

Date 09 May 1996 16:03:25

"UNITED METHODIST DAILY NEWS" by SUSAN PEEK on Aug. 11, 1991 at 13:58 Eastern,

Note 2953 by UMNS on May 9, 1996 at 16:34 Eastern (4236 characters).

SEARCH:  Liberia, Kulah, fighting

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CONTACT:  Joretta Purdue                    239(10-21-31-71){2953}
          Washington, D.C.  (202) 546-8722             May 9, 1996

Bishop seeks help for Liberians,
plans new headquarters in Guinea

     WASHINGTON (UMNS) -- In the face of continued fighting in
Liberia, United Methodist Bishop Arthur Kulah has announced that
he is moving the conference headquarters to Conakry, Guinea, upon
his return to Africa in June.
     Currently in the United States to attend the recent General
Conference in Denver and to enlist aid for his country and its
people, Kulah was here May 7 to help brief the General Conference
delegation to the White House.
     Later that day, the delegation carried the Liberia resolution
to U.S. administration officials, together with a cover letter
from Woodie W. White, president of the denomination's Council of
Bishops, expressing concern about "the devastating civil war and
violence in Liberia."
     Kulah said he would like the United States, "because of its
role as the only remaining super power, coupled with the long
historical relation between Liberia and the United States," to
take the initiative and lead the international community in
bringing peace to Liberia, a country established in 1822 for
former U.S. slaves.
     He suggested the United States use its military posture to
disarm all the warring factions, thereby opening the country to
free movement by all its people.
     The only hope for Liberia is the United States' "not
necessarily committing troops, but using military language and
military muscle to help the United Nations lead other nations to
disarm the warring factions," Kulah explained. He added that the
arms should be destroyed so no one can reclaim them later.
     He said it also would be helpful if the United States would
make it possible for most of the peace monitoring groups to be
part of the election process.
     Elections currently are scheduled for September, but Kulah
expressed doubts as to whether such a timetable is possible given
the present fighting.
     Accompanying Kulah was a Liberian man who had just graduated
from Wesley Seminary here, one of 13 United Methodist theological
schools in the United States. What should have been a happy time
of accomplishment was somewhat dimmed as his wife and son are
still trying to make their way out of Liberia.
     Kulah's children have arrived safely in Ivory Coast, he said.
The children of a brother and a sister who were killed recently
have tripled the five he and his wife originally had.
     Peace does not seem likely now, Kulah commented. The leader
of one of the warring factions has indicated that he will not
attend a peace conference scheduled for May 9 in Ghana.
     In Monrovia, the country's capital, where the fighting and
looting is centered, there are no markets or shops from which to
purchase food and other essentials, Kulah said. Banks are not open
so people cannot access whatever money they might have. 
     "It is very chaotic!" he said.
     Clergy and church members are trying to make their way to
neighboring countries any way they can, he said, having spoken May
4 with people still in Liberia.
     The airport terminal was destroyed in the April fighting, and
more ships are not expected, he said.
     "What the United Methodist Church now can do is to help us
with relief items -- money, clothes, food -- to be used to help
these people" in the refugee camps.
     "The United Nations is not feeding the refugees any more, so
we are dependent upon the United Methodist Church, here, in this
country to help us with clothes, with money, and with food for the
refugees who have gone to Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria and
Ivory Coast."
     They also need medical care and supplies, because "most of
these people are very sick and they need medical attention," he
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