Amnesty International today called on the Liberian government and armed opposition groups based in Guinea immediately to end abductions of women, children and other civilians.

Thousands of Liberian troops have been sent to the country's troubled northern border with Guinea where the rebels control a number of towns. Officials said the troops had launched simultaneous counter-attacks on the rebel held towns of Foya, Kolahun, Vahun, Voinjama and Zorzor.

Four Liberian journalists from an independent Monrovia daily newspaper are due to go on trial today charged with espionage following an article that accused the government of profligate spending on helicopter repairs and Christmas cards.

Guinean President Lansana Conte has refused to meet Liberian counterpart Charles Taylor over rebel attacks on Guinea which Conte says are backed by Liberia.

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), based in Accra, Ghana, is sending a team of human rights lawyers from Ghana and Nigeria to Liberia to assist in the defense of the four journalists detained on the charge of espionage.