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Vol 37 No 23

Published 15th November 1996


Shooting in the mansion

After fighting up country, the warlords bring their battles to the government offices

The personal vendettas in Monrovia are only part of the real battle for control of Liberia that is being fought out in the hinterland. All the signs are that Charles Taylor is once more in the ascendant. Arm-twisting by Nigeria had produced new accords and a new peace formula, and two months ago, it installed former senator Ruth Perry as titular head of the Executive Council, the blend of rival warlords and civilian leaders which theoretically rules the country. As before, the arrangements promptly ran into trouble. Just before 10 a.m. on 31 October, a security officer from the peacekeeping force, the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group, heard an explosion and gunfire from the east wing of the Executive Mansion in Monrovia. On the stairs, he met one of Taylor's female bodyguards bleeding from the leg and one of George Boley's security men apparently running away. His soldiers detained the male guard and bandaged the female one, found three people dead upstairs (including Taylor's Gambian security chief, General Jackson) and then began trying to find out what had happened.

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