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Vol 44 No 10

Published 16th May 2003


Liberia

Horse-trading, arms-trading

The new UN resolution misses an opportunity to tackle the regional conflict from all sides

The planned United Nations Security Council mission to West Africa will find President Charles Taylor in a tight corner. Two armed groups on two fronts supported by Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire have overstretched his Armed Forces of Liberia militia units, such as the Navy Rangers, while the loyalty of elite squads such as the Anti-Terrorist Unit is questionable. The deaths of key militia commanders such as 'Jack the Rebel' in March and Sam 'Mosquito' Bockarie in early May were serious blows (AC Vol 44 No 9). The Special Court for Sierra Leone indicted Bockarie in March and Monrovia was under pressure to hand him over. Since November, Bockarie and his supporters had fought as mercenaries in western Côte d'Ivoire for the rebel Mouvement Populaire Ivoirien du Grand-Ouest (MPIGO) and Mouvement pour la Justice et la Paix.

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