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Church to transfer all missionaries from Liberia amid deteriorating economic conditions

By Liesl Nielsen, | Updated - Feb. 13, 2020 at 4:33 p.m. | Posted - Feb. 13, 2020 at 4:12 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will transfer all missionaries out of Liberia as economic conditions in the African country continue to deteriorate, a church spokesman said in an emailed statement Thursday.

On Feb. 2, the church announced that 23 missionaries who were nearing their scheduled departure dates would return home early. Another eight that were preparing to leave for Liberia would be temporarily reassigned to other countries.

The other 99 missionaries would remain in the country, though the church said it would “continue to closely monitor the situation and make adjustments as needed,” according to church spokesman Daniel Woodruff.

On Thursday, the church “decided to temporarily transfer the remaining 99 missionaries out of that country” because of “increased difficulties in obtaining basic supplies and conducting missionary work,” Woodruff said.

“We continue to pray for all people in Liberia at this difficult time, and we look forward to missionaries returning when the situation improves,” he added.

Information about where the missionaries will be transferred has not yet been released.

Liberia has recently struggled with a gasoline shortage that has created long lines at the pumps, according to a Reuters report. Reuters also writes that Liberia is "suffering from high inflation and a depreciating Liberian dollar."

There is long-simmering anger surrounding the administration of President George Weah, the former international soccer star who became Liberia's head of state in 2018, according to the Associated Press. Thousands protested against Weah in early January, and police responded with tear gas.

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