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Remains of luxury hotel still a reminder of a painful past

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Copyright © africanews
JOHN WESSELS/AFP or licensors -

Liberia

Once a mark of splendour and luxury, the Ducor Hotel, towering above Liberia's capital, Monrovia, carries the scars of conflict.

Hard to believe that distinct guests, like Ethiopia's emperor Haile Selassié, once lived here. One among many.

Today however the ruins of this palace are a den of squatters and drug addicts.

"It's because of the war [that the hotel was abandoned]. The hotel was opened, even during the war, it stayed open, there were people staying here. We even had the interim president that was living here and right after the war we had the interim government, most of them were living in this building", remembers Peter Asaac, the Ducor Palace guard.

The Ducor opened in 1960 and it was the first five-star hotel built in West Africa.

"After Ellen [Johnson Sirleaf] took over, Gadaffi came and wanted to take over the building. He wanted to lease this place. And the government told the squatters that were here to leave the building" said the guard. 

The hotel closed down in 1989 at the start of the first of Liberia's two civil wars. It has been abandoned since 2003. 

"There were displaced people because after the war people fled from everywhere and some came to reside here, they were living here, people who became squatters. So during the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf presidency, they wanted to renovate but it never worked. So now it’s just abandoned and secured by security", informs neighbour Henry Medwake.

The hotel has 10 floors and an unrestricted view of the ocean. 

Many Liberians want to see the building return to its former splendour.

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