Liberia complains of ex-leader's meddling

Liberia’s justice minister on Friday accused ex-president Charles Taylor of meddling in Liberian politics in violation of an agreement under which he lives in exile in Nigeria.

“We know that Mr Taylor is literally making telephone calls to his cronies in Liberia and other parts of the world daily. During these telephone discussions, he issues instructions and orders which impact directly on the politics of Liberia,” Minister of Justice Kabinneh Janneh said.

“We also know that there are, have been, people coming in and out of Liberia that work directly with Mr Taylor,” Janneh added.

A one-time warlord, Taylor launched a 1989-1996 insurgency in Liberia before winning presidential elections in 1997. He fled a rebel assault in August 2003 and took political asylum in Nigeria—on condition he stay out of Liberia’s internal affairs and not speak to the media.

Nigeria is under pressure to hand Taylor over to a United Nations-backed war crimes court in Sierra Leone, where he has been charged with supporting notoriously brutal rebels in Sierra Leone’s 1991-2002 civil war.

The court has also accused Taylor of breaking the conditions of his asylum by plotting violence in countries neighbouring Liberia and trying to influence Liberia’s presidential election, scheduled for October.

Janneh played a crucial role in the main rebel movement, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy, which fought against Taylor’s army for years.—Sapa-AP

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