Monrovia reportedly returned to normal today while hundreds of Liberians formed long lines to get food from the few stores that opened under military guard, Western officials reported.
The officials, reached by telephone in Monrovia, said the death toll from last weekend's rioting reached 50 today with over 500 hospitalized.
One Westerner said the two-day riot had caused "tens of millions of dollars in damage to downtown Monrovia. Most of the big stores were looted and some government buildings were vandalized."
Liberian President William Tolbert announced that 200 soldiers from neighboring Guinea were flown into Monrovia yesterday under a mutual defense pact signed by Tolbert and Guinean President Sekou Toure in January. News agencies quoted Tolbert as saying that Togo and Ivory Coast also offered assistance.
Tolbert also said the rioting, sparked by the government's doubling of the price of rice, was engineered by foreigners, but he did not name the country.
[Tolbert told a Cabinet meeting he w as ordering that the price of rice not be raised, Associated Press reported from Monrovia.]
Yesterday, the government radio urged all banks and stores not damaged during the rioting to reopen by noon today.
One official in Monrovia said only a small number of stores opened today, giving residents their first opportunity to shop since Saturday's demonstrations erupted into rioting. Rice is the staple of most Liberians.
The U.S. government was flying in emergency medical supplies. Streets in downtown Monrovia were being cleaned today and telephone lines repaired, an official said.