03-29-2006, 11:51 AM
Looks like they got him last night...
Taylor Captured By Nigerian Police
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
March 29, 2006
Posted to the web March 29, 2006
Nigerian police have captured former Liberian president Charles Taylor, the government said on Wednesday, a day after his announced disappearance from the mansion where he was living in exile in the south of the country.
Taylor is wanted on 17 counts of war crimes by a UN-backed Special Court in Sierra Leone.
Taylor was detained Tuesday night in Borno state in north-eastern Nigeria, Information Minister Frank Nweke told reporters. Authorities immediately informed Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo of Taylor's arrest, he said, adding that the Nigerian leader has ordered his deportation.
"President Obasanjo has directed the immediate repatriation of Charles Taylor to Liberia, to be placed in the custody of the government of Liberia," said Nweke.
Security sources in Nigeria told IRIN that Taylor slipped off in a car on Monday night and waiting commandoes swooped in and took him to vehicles standing by to help him make his way to the northeast town of Gambouru near the Cameroon border. But Taylor was arrested before he crossed the border.
Taylor has been flown to the federal capital Abuja where he is in police custody and awaiting deportation, officials said.
Nigeria's announcement at the weekend that Liberia was "free to take" the former leader sparked confusion about what would be the next step. Liberian government officials have repeatedly said that they do not want Taylor on Liberian soil as they see him as a threat to the country's new-found stability.
Charles Taylor stepped down as elected president of Liberia in 2003 and accepted exile in Nigeria under intense international pressure led by the United States. His departure cleared the way for a ground-breaking peace deal that ended 14 years of brutal on-off civil war that killed tens of thousands and displaced millions.
Nigeria had always maintained that it would hand Taylor over only at the request of an elected Liberian government. That request came earlier this month while new Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was visiting the United States - Liberia's main potential donor to help rebuild the war-battered country.
Nigerian President Obasanjo is due to meet with US President George Bush in Washington on Wednesday, though some US politicians had pressed for the meeting to be cancelled after Nigeria announced Taylor missing on Tuesday. The United States is leading international pressure to bring Charles Taylor before the Special Court in Sierra Leone.
The UN slapped sanctions on Liberia in 2001 after investigations alleged that Taylor took payments of diamonds in exchange for arms supplied to Sierra Leonean rebels, known for hacking of the hands and feet of civilians.
The Liberian government declined to comment on Taylor's possible arrival, saying that President Sirleaf would address the nation later on Wednesday. However, residents of the capital Monrovia said that the heavily armed rapid reaction unit of the UN peacekeeping mission had amassed at the international airport.
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]
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