African Dictatorships: No Place to Hide

Africa is becoming less safe for dictators and warlords. Facing growing pressure to step aside, Charles Taylor, the warlord- cum-President of Liberia, finally left Monrovia for exile on August 11. Besieged by rebels, indicted by Sierra Leone’s Special Court for war crimes against humanity, and publicly told to go three times by US President George Bush, Taylor was finally escorted into exile by the presidents of South Africa, Mozambique and Ghana following a ceremonial handover of power. But exile may no longer offer comfortable retirement for the continent’s tyrants.

The World Today Published 1 October 2003 Updated 21 October 2020 3 minute READ

Charles Taylor’s exit from Liberia has thwarted any immediate possibility of his arrest by the Special Court in Sierra Leone. Taylor was indicted on June 4 as he attended the opening of peace talks in Ghana. The timing of the indictment surprised many, ending secret talks in Belgium about an exit deal for Taylor and eclipsing the Ghana negotiations.

The indictment was also a catalyst for Liberian rebels to vigorously increase their efforts to overthrow him. It set off a bloody chain of events, with Taylor seeking the lifting of the indictment as the condition for his departure. He failed to achieve this but did accept sanctuary from President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria; he now resides in a hill-top mansion in Calabar.

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