This week Interpol issued a notice of arrest for the former Liberian President Charles Taylor, who is currently in asylum in Nigeria. Taylor assumed power in Liberia in 1989, and served as president of the country until this past summer when anti-Taylor rebels began to sway the balance of power within the West African nation. Previously, Taylor has been indicted on charges of crimes against humanity and violations of the Geneva Convention. It is suspected that he trained rebels in Sierra Leone in exchange for diamonds, while these rebels went on to torture, mutilate, rape, and abduct what is estimated to be thousands of civilians. Currently, Liberia continues to be beleaguered by problems, many of them caused by the various civil wars which have ravaged the country over the past 14 years. Since Taylor's departure to Nigeria in August, UN peacekeeping forces have begun to move into the country to assess the situation. There have been some bright spots in recent weeks as Liberia's main rebel group (Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy, or LURD), has stated that it will in fact begin to disarm. As one rebel soldier, Padmo Doumah indicates in this recent commentary on the situation: "As soon as my commander gives the order, I will bring my arm to UNMIL [UN Mission to Liberia] and take a pencil to go back to school.
The first link leads to a news story from the South African Broadcasting Corporation about the issuance of the arrest warrant from INTERPOL for Charles Taylor. The second link will take visitors to an interesting news piece from November of this year in which the United States categorically denies that an aid package for Iraq and Afghanistan included a $2 million bounty prize for the capture of former President Taylor. The third link leads to a news piece from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs that discusses the recent decision by the LURD organization to disarm. The fourth link leads to another news piece on recent improvements in Liberia, in this case the recent restoration of electricity to Monrovia, the nation's capitol. The fifth link will take visitors to a recent editorial by the Human Rights Watch organization on the problematic nature of harboring human rights violators, with specific reference in this instance to Charles Taylor and Nigeria. The sixth link (provided by the BBC) leads to a transcript and an audio recording of an interview with then President Charles Taylor from July of this year, in which he talks about the ongoing civil war and the accusations leveled at him regarding human rights violations. The final link leads to the actual INTERPOL notice that calls for the arrest of Charles Taylor, issued just this week.