FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE, SEPT. 23 -- Liberian rebel factions and former government soldiers respected a cease-fire today, 24 hours after the fragile truce was declared, military and other sources said.

"Our latest situation reports say that the cease-fire is still holding," said a senior officer with peace-keeping force of the Economic Community of West African States in this neighboring capital.

In London, the Sunday Observer published grisly details of the torture-slaying of Samuel Doe, the Liberian president who died earlier this month at the hands of rebels led by Prince Johnson.

A Lebanese merchant from Monrovia told the Observer he watched Johnson's men torture Doe after his Sept. 9 capture: "Doe's hands were cuffed together and he had been shot in both legs and was bleeding heavily. They were abusing him."

The merchant, identified only as Joseph, said, "Then one of Johnson's men took a knife, a machete, and cut off his ear. Then they cut his face like this," he said, indicating diagonal slashes across the cheeks. "He was crying and the blood was running down his cheeks from his face and head."

The man said Doe at one point blew on the blood that had pooled on his body, and "one of Johnson's men thought he was trying to do some kind of juju {magic}, blowing on himself to make himself disappear.

"So he shot him again," the merchant continued. "He was nearly dead then anyway from loss of blood." The man said that was the last he saw of Doe.

The Observer also quoted a Liberian teacher, identified only as Oliver, as saying he saw Doe's body later in the day. "They had him in a wheelbarrow and were pushing the body around the town. They were shouting, 'We've killed Doe,' and firing their guns in the air.

"People were coming up to the body and cutting it with knives. Slashing at him. He had two fingers, maybe three, missing from one hand and they had cut off his testicles," the teacher said.

Both witnesses were interviewed in Freetown, Sierra Leone.