Several hundred soldiers from tribes backing Liberian rebel leader Charles Taylor were being held in a military camp yesterday after they were rounded up by soldiers loyal to President Samuel Doe, witnesses said. There were scattered reports of soldiers firing at each other as troops from the Gio and Mano tribes were captured and disarmed by soldiers from the Krahn tribe loyal to Mr. Doe.
The Army is dominated by Krahns, and Doe apparently doubts that Gio and Mano soldiers will remain loyal as rebel forces approach the capital of the West African nation, diplomats say.
Doe is desperately fighting a bid to topple him by rebels led by Mr. Taylor, a former Doe associate who fled the country in 1983 to escape charges he had embezzled $900,000. Taylor now claims to have thousands of armed guerrillas and has taken strategic positions within 30 miles of the capital.