2004 Photo Contest, Spot News, 1st prize

Noël Patrick Quidu

Gamma for Newsweek

18 June, 2003

A fighter loyal to the government brandishes human bones in celebration of taking the strategic position of Klay Junction. Liberia has been wracked by on-off civil war since the 1980s. Following an uprising against the government led by Charles Taylor in 1989, the next decade saw occasional cease-fires, but each time fighting resumed after a matter of months. Increasing rebel activity in the north of the country followed Taylor's election victory in 1997. In March 2003, rebels had advanced to within 10km of the capital Monrovia, and by July fighting had intensified and government and rebel militia were battling for control of the city. After intervention of UN and US forces in August, rebels signed a peace accord and President Charles Taylor, in the meantime indicted on war-crimes charges, left the country.

About the photographer

Noël Patrick Quidu

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