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U.S. Seeks Missing American in Liberia

September 2, 2003

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) _ The U.S. Embassy is trying to determine the fate of an American citizen of Lebanese descent missing since July in former rebel territory, officials said Tuesday.

Nabil Hage, a businessman, disappeared from the area around Monrovia’s then-rebel-held port during fighting. Rebels had Monrovia under siege for two months before signing an Aug. 18 peace deal.

Americans were making ``some attempts to follow some leads″ on Hage, a U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Dozens of men in Monrovia’s large Lebanese and Indian business community stayed with their shops and factories around the port during fighting, trying to safeguard their possessions. The men were targets nearly every night of looting and other attacks.

U.S. officials say they believe Hage is a U.S. Army veteran, and journalists during the siege saw a rebel wearing a green U.S. Army uniform with the name-tag, ``Hage.″ There was no word then of any missing American.

U.S. and European diplomats throughout the siege of Monrovia and after have picked up stray Westerners caught behind front-lines.

Hage, whom relatives in Monrovia said is single with no children, has a number of family members in the United States.

Officials of the International Committee of the Red Cross, which often becomes involved in the search for missing people, said neither Hage’s family nor the U.S. Embassy had contacted it for assistance.

Sister Barbara Brilliant, an American nun who also stayed in Monrovia during fighting, described Hage as a ``big businessman in town.″

``He was an American citizen, and he is lost, and he shouldn’t be lost,″ she said.

A top rebel official, Joe Gbalah, said Tuesday that insurgents had no knowledge of Hage’s whereabouts.

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