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Vol 38 No 13

Published 20th June 1997


Liberia

Not Charlie's aunt

Banker Johnson-Sirleaf squares up to warlord Taylor in a tough election next month

Two frontrunners dominate the election campaign which started on 16 June: ex-Finance Minister and former United Nations Development Programme Africa Director Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and ex-warlord Charles Taylor. Taylor has the overwhelming advantage in resources and military firepower; West African peacekeepers have dug up thousands of weapons cached by his National Patriotic Front of Liberia. Sirleaf moves around in a convoy of battered old vehicles – which is taunted and attacked by Taylor supporters – while Taylor has a fleet of shiny four-wheel drives and, we hear, access to a helicopter for more remote areas.

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