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SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Sunday that it is reducing the number of its missionaries in the African nation of Liberia due to economic and social instability in that country.
Twenty-three missionaries are returning home early, and eight who were leaving soon for Liberia have been temporarily reassigned to other countries, according to church spokesman Daniel Woodruff. Another 99 missionaries will remain in the Liberia Monrovia Mission, Woodruff said.
The early returnees were nearing their scheduled departure date already, Woodruff said. He said the church made the decisions due to "economic conditions in Liberia and concerns about adequate supplies," and that the remaining 99 missionaries "have adequate supplies."
"The Church will continue to closely monitor the situation and make adjustments as needed," Woodruff said. "We pray for the people in Liberia as they navigate the economic situation in their country."
According to Reuters, Liberia has struggled with a gasoline shortage in recent days, creating long lines at the pumps.
The Associated Press also reports that there is long-simmering anger over the governance of President George Weah, the former international soccer star who became Liberia's head of state in 2018. Reuters writes that Liberia is "suffering from high inflation and a depreciating Liberian dollar."
Thousands demonstrated against Weah early last month, and police responded with tear gas, the AP reports.