The following, transmitted by the Associated Press, is a pool report by journalists in Monrovia, Liberia.

MONROVIA, Liberia, July 5 -- Thousands of rebels equipped with captured heavy armaments reinforced the siege against government troops in the suburbs of this capital today, a guerrilla source in neighboring Ivory Coast said.

{In Washington, State Department officials said the United States has "a friendly African country" prepared to receive President Samuel K. Doe if he accepts a U.S. offer to transport him out of Liberia, staff writer John M. Goshko reported.

{However, the officials added, U.S. ability to get into Monrovia could be lessened considerably if Doe delays much longer in accepting the U.S. offer. The officials declined to name the African country to which he would be taken.}

Doe's advisers continued to desert as the rebels tightened their grip on the capital. On Wednesday, Doe's most trusted commander, Lt. Gen. Charles Julu, fled to neighboring Sierra Leone, weakening the president's already fragile position. Julu headed Doe's presidential guard and had been army chief of staff since the weekend, when Lt. Gen. Henry Dubar fled to Sierre Leone.

In the city's eastern and western suburbs, growing numbers of rebels battled soldiers for a fourth consecutive day. The rebels now control all roads into Monrovia.

A rebel source in Ivory Coast said the 800-man contingent that attacked the capital's suburbs was reinforced by 4,500 fighters. The reinforcements brought up heavy armaments captured from army bases outside Monrovia, the source said.

The rebel source said the insurgents took Schiefflin, a military camp 12 miles east of Monrovia. The rebels estimated that Doe still has 2,000 soldiers in the capital.

For the first time since the fighting began, the Christian missionary radio station ELWA did not broadcast this evening. It had been on the air several times a day for several hours. The station is on the outskirts of Monrovia.

In the capital, government troops shot their way into stores, warehouses and restaurants to loot them during curfew early today.

Monrovia's main medical facility, the John F. Kennedy Hospital -- which, like the rest of the city, has been without water and power for more than a week -- has been abandoned by doctors and nurses, and most of its patients.

A serious food shortage in Monrovia has forced people to beg for rice. "Give us food, we are dying," one man said.

Residents were foraging for leaves and roots on patches of wasteland throughout the city.

Health workers said young children and old people were falling sick and risked dying of starvation in the rebel-held port of Buchanan, Liberia's second city. Workers at a nearby rubber plantation were eating pig feed after food had run out.