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Liberia: What Hope for Peace?

Publisher WRITENET
Author Richard Carver
Publication Date 1 October 1994
Cite as WRITENET, Liberia: What Hope for Peace?, 1 October 1994, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6a6bc0.html [accessed 19 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

1. INTRODUCTION

In March 1994, when Liberia's current transitional government was inaugurated, a senior United Nations official was quoted as saying:

They will never get a better chance than this, they cannot allow it to fail this time.[1]

Yet the July 1993 Cotonou peace accord, under which the transitional government was established, has all but collapsed. In September 1994, planned multi-party elections failed to take place and instead leaders of the country's three main military factions met in Ghana and reached a new agreement to return Liberia to their own control. Fighting within and between the armed factions has, if anything, increased since the March inauguration.

Liberia appears to have missed its best chance - so what prospects are there for peace?

Since the end of 1989, Liberia has been torn by a war which has only been broken by intermittent cease-fires. For much longer, the country has suffered gross violations of human rights by successive governments and, more recently, by the rebel movements which seek to overthrow them. As a result of the war, more than 800,000 Liberians out of a total population of some 2.5 million are refugees in neighbouring countries with probably more than half million displaced within the country. In other words, approximately half the population have been driven from their homes.[2] In the latter part of 1994 the country was in profound crisis, with more than 120,000 people newly displaced by fighting which was blocking access to some half a million in need of emergency food relief.[3]

In theory, the military situation is currently frozen as it was on 1 August 1993, the date when the Cotonou agreement came into force. In reality the period from August to October 1994 saw a major shift in the military balance. Until that point, much of the country, including most of its economic resources, was controlled by the National Patriotic Reconstruction Administration Government (NPRAG), headed by Charles Taylor and based in Gbarnga. This area was known as 'Greater Liberia'. It was Charles Taylor's political organization, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), which launched the insurgency which overthrew the government of the late President Samuel Doe. Now, however, after a dramatic weakening of the NPFL's military position, it only controls parts of Nimba and Bong Counties. A rival militia, the United Liberation Movement for Democracy in Liberia (ULIMO), which is itself divided into two warring factions, controls Grand Cape Mount, Bomi and Lofa Counties. The Liberian Peace Council, an armed group which has emerged since the Cotonou Accord, now controls much of the south-east of the country. Margibi County is an area of fierce fighting between the NPFL and the other factions.[4]

The transitional government in Monrovia effectively controls only a limited amount of territory in the area of the capital. Its guarantor is the Economic Community Cease-Fire Monitoring Group (ECOMOG). This Nigerian-led multinational force, which is now about 16,000 strong, was set up in 1990 by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), the remnants of the government army under the presidency of Samuel Doe (1980-1990), are in practice another armed militia faction.

There are a number of factors which have led to the breakdown of the Cotonou agreement - like previous peace accords - which cast serious doubt on the prospect for permanent peace:

• the agreement does not include a number of factions, notably the LPC, which have emerged since it was concluded;

• the major factions are themselves split with violent internal disputes. The NPFL, ULIMO and the AFL have all been riven with internal feuding in recent months;

• the Nigerian-led ECOMOG is seen by some factions, notably the NPFL, as a party to the conflict rather than a neutral peacekeeper. Despite an increased UN presence in the aftermath of the Cotonou accord, ECOMOG remains the crucial multinational presence;

• the leaders of the various armed factions have an overwhelming political and military interest in maintaining the uncertain status quo rather than ceding power to an accountable civilian administration;

• Liberian society and politics, which prior to 1980 was marked by an absence of clear ethnic division and rivalry, has become so sharply divided and brutalised by 14 years of gross human rights violations and war, that the prospects of a return to 'normal' life appear to be receding.

On the other hand, the transitional government itself is the main source of optimism. The representatives of the different factions appear increasingly to identify more with the government than with the party which nominated them. Most notably, three NPFL ministers have been highly critical of the intransigence of their party leader, Charles Taylor, leading to an open split within the NPFL. The transitional government also seems to have won a degree of popular support, with protests on the streets of Monrovia against the September 1994 Akosombo agreement, which would have removed authority from the government and handed it back to the NPFL, AFL and ULIMO. However, ultimately the transitional government is no more powerful than its predecessor, the interim government of national unity (IGNU), headed by Amos Sawyer, which depended equally on ECOMOG to remain in power. In the short term, at least, it is difficult to see how real power can be removed from the hands of the warlords.

2. BACKGROUND TO CONFLICT[5]

Liberia was one of only two African countries never to be formally colonised by a European power. However, unlike the other (Ethiopia), its entire history as an independent state has been shaped by quasi-colonial influences. The 'Grain Coast' of West Africa was settled in the nineteenth century by some 16,000 liberated black slaves from the southern states of the United States of America, who emigrated under the auspices of philanthropic organizations, as well as several thousand Africans from elsewhere in the continent who had been liberated from slave ships. Liberia became an independent republic in 1847, adopting a U.S.-style constitution. However, in the early years the main influences were the neighbouring British and French colonial powers.

American influence increased in the twentieth century, particularly after the Firestone company began planting massive rubber estates from 1926, becoming the major private sector employer and a crucial foreign exchange earner. The Liberian currency was pegged to the U.S. dollar and the country was a U.S. colony in all but name. The U.S. provided military assistance from 1912 and in 1951 established a permanent mission to train the armed forces. The future head of state, Samuel Doe, received training from the elite Green Berets. In return Liberia provided the U.S. with a Voice of America relay station, landing rights for military planes at the Robertsfield air base and a clearing house for intelligence reports from elsewhere in the continent.

Before the presidency of William Tubman (1944-1971) the Liberian state had not encroached far beyond the coastal strip. However, President Tubman opened the door to increased foreign investment - for example in mining and logging - and encouraged the assimilation of the country's indigenous population. The three hinterland provinces only became counties in 1964. Suffrage was extended and opposition parties formed.

However, under both President Tubman and his successor, William R. Tolbert, political power remained the monopoly of the Americo-Liberian oligarchy, exercising control through the True Whig Party (TWP). Under President Tubman more than one per cent of the government budget went towards the upkeep of the presidential yacht, while he reportedly spent more on ceremonial bands than on public health. He also built an extensive secret police network and, in the words of one commentator: "laid the foundation for much of what was to come under Doe: an individual autocracy rooted in weak institutions and contempt for the rule of law."[6]

Government was highly corrupt and came under increasing criticism during the 1970s. In 1979, President Tolbert, who had interests in rice farms, announced an increase in the price of rice, the staple food. Police opened fire on popular protests in Monrovia, killing 40 people. President Tolbert assumed emergency powers and detained opposition leaders.

On 12 April 1980, a group of non-commissioned officers seized power, led by a semi-literate Master Sergeant, Samuel Doe. In a sign of things to come they assassinated and eviscerated President Tolbert and then summarily executed 13 senior members of the previous administration. Despite the violence of the coup, it was widely welcomed. Political power and control of wealth had been in the hands of a tiny minority of Americo-Liberians. In 1930, the League of Nations had condemned Liberia as 'a republic of 12,000 citizens and 1,000,000 subjects'.[7] In the first century of the country's existence the government had violently suppressed 23 uprisings, nine of them with U.S. military assistance.

However, within months the handful of mainly left-wing civilian politicians who had joined the new government had resigned or been dismissed and opposition was banned. Far from being a victory for all indigenous Liberians, it became clear that the new regime was dominated by members of Sergeant (now General) Doe's small Krahn ethnic group.

In 1985 the country ostensibly returned to democratic rule as a result of external pressure. Samuel Doe and his National Democratic Party of Liberia won elections which were 'judged to have been fraudulent by virtually all independent observers'.[8] Thomas Quiwonkpa, a former lieutenant of Doe's who had fled the country in 1983, attempted to stage a coup. It failed. General Quiwonkpa and his associates were killed and the army took massive reprisals against members of his Gio ethnic group and the related Manos in Nimba County.[9]

Although Liberia's main international ally, the United States, continued to praise President Doe's 'genuine progress' towards democracy, the scene had been set for the civil war, which was triggered in December 1989 when a small force entered Nimba County from Côte d'Ivoire.[10]

3. THE CIVIL WAR[11]

The rebels of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) were led by Charles Taylor, a former official in the Doe administration who had fled from embezzlement charges in 1983. He was arrested in the United States and jailed pending extradition, but escaped from prison and returned to West Africa where he was jailed twice more, in Ghana and Sierra Leone, before assembling his small army to be trained in Libya.[12]

The rebels' tactic was to exploit the hostility of the Gios and Manos to the government over the rigging of the 1985 election and the brutal repression after the Quiwonkpa coup attempt. It was not, however, Charles Taylor's intention to instal the person generally thought to have won the 1985 election, Jackson Doe from Nimba County, who was himself killed by the NPFL.[13] The tactic worked: although the rebels posed little military threat, the predominantly Krahn Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) visited a further round of brutal repression on Nimba County, driving tens of thousands of Gios and Manos into the bush - thousands of them to become recruits, willing or forced, into Charles Taylor's army. The AFL also began the killing of Gios and Manos in its own ranks. For their part, the NPFL began an indiscriminate slaughter of Krahns, Mandingos and anyone else presumed to be government supporters.

By now the AFL had little capacity to resist the advance of the NPFL. By July 1990, rebel troops of the NPFL and the breakaway Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) of Prince Johnson were on the outskirts of Monrovia. The capital was in chaos, with widespread looting and ethnic killing. In one of the worst incidents, the AFL shot dead some 600 men, women and children who had taken refuge in a Lutheran church and the U.S. Agency for International Development compound.

In August 1990, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) decided to send a multinational peacekeeping force to Liberia. It became known as the Economic Community Cease-Fire Monitoring Group, although at the time of its despatch there was no cease-fire to monitor. One of the first developments after ECOMOG's arrival was that President Doe was abducted from the ECOMOG compound by Prince Johnson and his supporters and then tortured to death while video cameras captured the event.

On 30 August 1990 a national conference representing all factions except the NPFL elected Dr Amos Sawyer, leader of the Liberian Peoples Party, as head of an Interim Government of National Unity (IGNU). He was formally installed in November 1990. In October 1990, ECOMOG launched an offensive, establishing a neutral zone in Monrovia and creating the conditions for a cease-fire which was signed the following month in the Malian capital, Bamako. For almost two years the country was in a situation of uneasy peace, with ECOMOG and IGNU controlling the Monrovia region and Charles Taylor's National Patriotic Reconstruction Assembly Government (NPRAG), based in Gbarnga, controlling most of the rest of the country. A series of ECOWAS-sponsored negotiations culminated in a peace agreement being signed in Yamoussoukro, the capital of Côte d'Ivoire, in October 1991. Under the Yamoussoukro IV agreement, as it was known, all factions were to be encamped and disarmed as a prelude to national elections under ECOWAS supervision.

Yamoussoukro IV was never implemented, largely because the NPFL refused to comply with its disarmament provisions, arguing that ECOMOG was not a neutral force and that it was under threat from a new armed faction, the United Liberation Movement for Democracy (ULIMO), established by former AFL members with backing from the government of neighbouring Sierra Leone.[14] (By this time Prince Johnson's INPFL had faded from the scene.) In August 1992 serious fighting erupted between the NPFL and ULIMO and thousands of displaced people fled to Monrovia. On 27 September, the NPFL massacred some 450 fleeing civilians in Bomi County, to the north-west of the capital.[15]

The following month the NPFL launched Operation Octopus, a concerted attempt to capture Monrovia. For a short while it appeared that the attack might succeed, but ECOMOG, now in open alliance with the AFL and ULIMO, succeeded in repelling the NPFL and recapturing the towns of Kakata and Harbel and later the port of Buchanan after heavy air strikes. In June 1993 some 500 displaced people were massacred at the former Firestone Rubber plantation in Harbel. Most contemporary accounts blamed the atrocity on the NPFL, basing the assumption on the fact that ECOMOG had discovered the mass grave of some 3,000 people apparently executed by the NPFL in late 1992.[16] However, Amnesty International pointed out at the time that there were also recent reports of summary executions by the AFL and ULIMO.[17] After an investigation by a UN-appointed commission of inquiry it emerged that the Harbel massacre was in fact carried out by the AFL.[18]

The rapid reverse in his military situation forced Charles Taylor back to the negotiating table, this time under the auspices of the UN Special Representative, Trevor Gordon-Somers. After a series of meetings in Geneva, an agreement was signed in Cotonou, the capital of Benin, on 25 July 1993. A cease-fire came into force on 1 August. The provisions of the Cotonou Accord were similar to those of Yamoussoukro IV, although with some significant differences:

• a seven-month period of transitional rule culminating in multi-party elections.

• a transitional executive, which corresponded to the NPFL's proposal of a collective presidency - a five-member council of state. No member of the transitional government can stand in the elections.

• a transitional legislature, merging the Monrovia parliament with the NPFL's legislature based in Gbarnga.

• a judiciary which continued as constituted in the IGNU-controlled areas;

• the disarmament, encampment and demobilization of the militias was to be monitored by a newly constituted ECOWAS peace-keeping force, incorporating troops from elsewhere in Africa, along with OAU and UN observer missions;

• ECOMOG was to establish buffer zones along Liberia's borders with Guinea, Sierra Leone and Côte d'Ivoire.[19]

The two most important differences between this and Yamoussoukro IV were the new transitional government to be composed of the major parties, including the NPFL, and the role of the UN and other African states in monitoring the disarmament process.

4. AFTER COTONOU

The Cotonou Accord has had no better fortune than its predecessor. The seven-month timetable for disarmament and elections was wildly unrealistic, but a revised timetable which envisaged elections in September 1994 has also proved impossible to meet. African military contingents were not deployed as part of the 'expanded ECOMOG' until the end of 1993, with a corresponding delay in the implementation of the UN observer mission (UNOMIL). Wrangles over the composition of the transitional government delayed its inauguration until March 1993.[20]

However, the main breakdown of the Cotonou Accord, as with Yamoussoukro IV, is that none of the factions appears to have any intention of complying with the provisions for encampment and disarmament of troops.[21]

Unlike the November 1990 cease-fire, which more or less held until August 1992, the August 1993 cease-fire had decisively broken down within weeks of coming into force. From early September onwards there were reports of renewed fighting between the NPFL and ULIMO, first along the Ivoirian border in the east and later in Lofa and Bong counties in the west and centre.[22] Even more serious was the emergence of a hitherto unknown organization, the Liberian Peace Council (LPC), based in Sinoe County in the south-east. It appeared to draw support from Krahn elements in the AFL and ULIMO and began to launch attacks on NPFL-held territory.[23]

At the same time, the relaxation of hostilities did allow an opportunity to increase humanitarian efforts. In Lofa County, now under ULIMO control, access had been difficult before the cease-fire, but now agencies were able to feed the displaced, halving the recorded cases of malnutrition.[24] However, in November 1993 there were new influxes of refugees from Sierra Leone fleeing from fighting between the government forces and rebels of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF).[25]

The peace process appeared to have broken down almost irretrievably when, in March 1994, agreement was finally reached on the formation of the transitional government, chaired initially by the IGNU's nominee, David Kpormakpor. The commander of UNOMIL, General Daniel Opande, announced a revised target of 30,000 troops to be disarmed - half the original estimate.[26]

In early 1994 latent tensions within ULIMO broke out into open conflict, with fighting between a predominantly Krahn faction, led by General Roosevelt Johnson, and a predominantly Mandingo faction, led by Alhaji G.V. Kromah. The fighting continued to flare up throughout the year.[27]

Tensions were also becoming apparent within the NPFL. In October 1993, there had been internal faction fighting in the Harbel area which left 16 dead.[28] During 1994 the conflicts increased until, in July 1994, three NPFL ministers in the transitional government announced that Charles Taylor was no longer in control of the NPFL. Although an attempted takeover of Gbarnga by the NPFL's General Nixon Gaye ended with his torture and execution at the hands of Taylor supporters, the NPFL leader's control was rapidly waning after a series of military defeats.[29] The other factions took advantage of Charles Taylor's discomfiture, with ULIMO in particular moving troops into the Gbarnga area to support the anti-Taylor faction.[30]

In some respects the split within the NPFL was an encouraging sign for the peace process, in so far as it strengthened the hand of the transitional government against the military leaders. Another encouraging sign was the convening of a civilian national conference, which emerged with new proposals on disarmament and the demilitarization of Liberian politics.[31] However, any advantage was short-lived since Charles Taylor, Alhaji Kromah and General Hezekiah Bowen assembled at Akosombo in Ghana - the very week when elections should have been taking place in Liberia - and announced a new peace agreement which superseded Cotonou and amounted, in essence, to a partition of the country between their three factions.[32] The Akosombo agreement, backed by the UN Special Representative, was roundly rejected by the other factions, including the LPC, the transitional government, the civilian national conference meeting in Monrovia, churches, human rights groups and political parties - as well, it is believed, as ECOMOG.[33] A faction of the AFL led by General Charles Julu took the opportunity to launch a coup attempt (although it appears that this had been planned for some time and was not a spontaneous response to Akosombo). ECOMOG crushed the coup attempt, but there was fighting in Monrovia, as well as an escalation of the conflict around Gbarnga, with some 100,000 new refugees fleeing across the border to Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire.[34]

5. REFUGEES AND DISPLACED PEOPLE[35]

At least half of Liberia's population, estimated at 2.4 million in 1984, has been displaced by the war. Recent arrivals in Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire take the number of refugees outside the country to some 800,000. The population of Monrovia has roughly doubled in size from around 400,000 in 1989, while recent estimates of the displaced in central and northern Liberia were a further 500,000.[36] Clearly, it is not always possible simply to aggregate these figures, since people are often displaced more than once. Nevertheless an estimate of 1.2 million for the total number of displaced would be conservative. To these numbers should be added the refugees and internally displaced from the war in eastern Sierra Leone, which is in many respects an extension of the Liberia conflict. The total number of displaced Sierra Leoneans is more than 300,000.[37] Thus the number of people displaced by the Liberian crisis is not only very great in absolute terms - in a region with little experience of mass refugee flows - but it is also a quite staggering proportion of the total population.

In 1989 and 1990, refugees fleeing from the early stages of the war crossed into Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire. By October 1994 the total numbers of refugees were of the order of 450,000 and 280,000 respectively. Both countries adopted an approach of 'cohabitation' with the local population rather than the settlement of refugees in designated camps. The new arrivals were mainly from ethnic groups which straddled the borders, often with direct ties of kinship or friendship with local villagers. Initially the arrangement worked well, but as the numbers of refugees increased and it became increasingly apparent that they would stay for the foreseeable future, strains began to emerge. There were a number of problems. The local populations resented what they saw as favourable treatment for refugees in provision of food and other support. Yet the refugees themselves have often found relief inadequate and have resented the requirements, such as payment of rent and labour, imposed by local villagers. There have been cultural differences, for example over the role and behaviour of women, and local disgruntlement over the increase in anti-social behaviour, including violent crime and prostitution. In Côte d'Ivoire particularly, there have been major security and protection issues, as NPFL fighters have regularly raided across the border, killing refugees and local villagers - at the same time as the NPFL received support from Ivoirian officials.[38] As fighting has intensified since August 1994, with the NPFL being displaced from its former strongholds, so border insecurity has increased.

In May 1990, as the NPFL approached Monrovia, Liberians from the capital and the west of the country began fleeing into Sierra Leone. As in Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire the newcomers initially 'cohabited' with the local population, although the attitude of the authorities was less accommodating. The arrival of the refugees was one of a number of factors adding to a political crisis, which deepened still further with the incursion of rebels of the Revolutionary United Front, backed by the NPFL. Hundreds of thousands of Sierra Leoneans were uprooted by this new conflict, fleeing to Guinea, Liberia or elsewhere in their own country. An unknown number of Liberian refugees were caught behind rebel lines, many probably making their way back across the border. Tens of thousands of others fled to Freetown in advance of the rebel troops. Many were later repatriated by sea to Monrovia, leaving a total of only about 17,000 in Sierra Leone, many of them at the Waterloo refugee camp near Freetown.

In addition there are some 25,000 Liberian refugees in Ghana. A few thousand more Liberians are refugees at a camp in Oru, Ogun State in western Nigeria. Their conditions and rights there have been severely criticised by Nigerian human rights activists.[39]

6. THE PROSPECTS FOR PEACE

The prospects for peace in Liberia are extremely faint.[40] The breakdown of the Cotonou peace process, like the failure of the Yamoussoukro IV accord before it, has been triggered by the issue of disarmament. The factions, notably the NPFL, have refused to comply with the provisions for encampment and disarmament of their troops. In the case of the Yamoussoukro Accord this was ostensibly because of mistrust of ECOMOG (not without reason). The Cotonou Accord attempted to skirt this problem by the formation of an 'expanded ECOMOG' with Tanzanian and Ugandan troops, so that the NPFL would not have to have any direct contact with the Nigerian ECOMOG forces. In practice this has made little difference. According to one estimate, by April 1994 only 2,500 fighters had been demobilised out of an estimated total of between 40,000 and 60,000.[41]

There are at least five identifiable factors behind the breakdown of the Cotonou Accord and previous agreements, each of which makes the chances of success for any future peace agreement equally remote:

• since the Cotonou Accord new armed factions have emerged which are not a party to it, while even those factions which have signed have split or created front organizations which can carry out armed actions by proxy;

• ECOMOG, especially its Nigerian component, is not viewed by all factions as a neutral arbiter, but rather as a party to the conflict. Equally the UN presence, especially the Secretary General's special representative, Trevor Gordon-Somers, has been criticised from many sides;

• ethnic tensions, which were not a major factor in Liberian politics before 1980, have been exacerbated to such a degree that there is a strong desire for - and fear of - retribution between different groups;

• Liberian society is traumatised and the economy has broken down to such a degree that recreating 'normality' is an overwhelming task;

• the leaders of the warring factions have a vested interest - above all an economic interest - in maintaining the anarchic status quo.

7. THE PROLIFERATION OF FACTIONS

Since the signing of the Cotonou Accord there has been further fragmentation of the Liberian political scene. One significant new faction has emerged, while the existing factions have spawned front organizations, as well as splitting themselves. Thus, for example, in Lofa County - largely held by ULIMO - there has emerged a Lofa Defence Front, allied to the NPFL. Correspondingly in NPFL-held Bong County the Bong Defence Front is allied to the Kromah faction of ULIMO. Neither of these factions is a signatory to the Cotonou Accord and both claim autonomy from the larger factions with which they are clearly allied.[42]

Another element in the Nimba County equation was the formation in 1993 of the Nimba Redemption Council, headed by Karpeh Dwanyen, whose father, David Dwanyen, had been executed by the NPFL. Presumably this organization too had links with ULIMO and/or the AFL but, although it has since faded from the scene, it served as an indication that even in his heartland of Nimba there was significant opposition to Charles Taylor from a civilian population which had suffered depredations at the hands of the NPFL.[43]

7.1 The Liberian Peace Council

The emergence of the Liberian Peace Council in late 1993 was a significant addition to the Liberian political scene. Headed by George Boley, a former Minister in Samuel Doe's government, the LPC appears to be a largely Krahn organization composed of former members of the AFL. George Boley himself is a former ULIMO official.[44] Like most of the Liberian factions, they are somewhat unconventional in their methods: one unit is called 'Platoon Butt Naked' and tries to gain an element of surprise by attacking in the nude.[45]

With an estimated 800 armed men, its centre of activities has been Sinoe County in the south-west of the country, with a central base at Owen's Grove, from which it has struck northwards against NPFL-held territory.[46] Under the terms of the Cotonou agreement the NPFL was not allowed to deploy its troops in response, but the failure of ECOMOG to take effective action against the LPC gave the NPFL a rationale for taking military action against the LPC. Initially, international observers seemed anxious to play down the LPC threat in case it created a precedent for further breaches of the cease-fire.[47] Human Rights Watch has accused the Nigerian contingent of ECOMOG in Buchanan of giving assistance to the LPC.[48]

By early December 1993, relief agencies in Harbel were reporting a new influx of displaced people into the area from River Cess and Grand Bassa County, fleeing from fighting between the NPFL and the LPC.[49] Thousands more were displaced in February 1994 by another upsurge in fighting in northern River Cess County and parts of Grand Bassa County.[50] LPC advances were reported, displacing 10,000 people on the banks of the St John River and trapping a further 4,000 in Grand Bassa County.[51] It was claimed at that point that a total of 300,000 had been displaced by fighting between the NPFL and LPC.[52]

The U.S. State Department has singled out the LPC for particular criticism in a public statement on abuses by the various Liberian factions: "We have received numerous credible reports of gross human rights violations, including murder, rape, mutilation and torture against unarmed civilians. The LPC's aggressive military activities have displaced tens of thousands of Liberians and threaten to plunge the country back into full-scale civil war."[53]

By May 1994, the LPC had extended its activities to lower Grand Gedeh County. Reports reaching Tabou in Côte d'Ivoire spoke of raids on the towns of Kilepo Kanweaken, Gookon and Jakaken, which caused many civilian casualties. It has been suggested that they may have attacked Grebo-speaking villagers because of their refusal to fight for the Krahn-led LPC. The villagers apparently were reluctant to accept an offer of military assistance from the NPFL, since they had earlier suffered similar abuses at the hand of that faction. They do, however, appear to have formed a tribal militia which has burned Krahn villages.[54]

The LPC was one of a number of factions which rejected the September 1994 Akosombo agreement between the NPFL, AFL and ULIMO, since it was not included in the talks and would stand to lose if a government were formed of the other three factions. [55] However, it is clear that LPC has become a major actor in the Liberian war and that any peace effort which does not take account of that is doomed to failure.

7.2 The Split in ULIMO

The United Liberation Movement (ULIMO) emerged during 1991 out of two different factions. On the one hand was a predominantly Krahn faction, led by Raleigh Seekie, a former businessperson (who is not himself a Krahn). This faction grew out of an earlier group, the Liberian United Democratic Front, led by Arma Youlu. In combination with regular Sierra Leonean forces, the LUDF had repelled NPFL incursions into the east of Sierra Leone in March 1991. It is generally believed that the Sierra Leonean government sponsored the formation of ULIMO as a counterbalance to the NPFL's support for the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF), led by Foday Sankoh, which has been waging war in Sierra Leone's main diamond and gold-producing region for the past three years. The government in Freetown has consistently denied this allegation, although it was clear in its early months that ULIMO operated from bases inside Sierra Leone.[56]

The other strand of ULIMO was a faction led by the Mandingo (Malinke) former Minister of Information in the Doe government, Alhaji G.V. Kromah, who was (and is) secretary general of the Movement for the Redemption of Muslims (MRM). This faction began by launching attacks across the Guinean border into NPFL-held territory around the town of Voinjama.[57]

The relationship between the two factions was always uneasy. After early tensions the two wings reunited in August 1992 to launch an attack on a strategic NPFL base in Tubmanburg, Bomi County. Both sides were reported to have massacred unarmed civilians. The outcome was the extension of ULIMO control to Cape Mount County, Bomi County and a large part of Lofa County.[58]

ULIMO had not been party to the October 1991 Yamoussoukro agreement, which it rejected, which was an important reason for the failure of that peace plan.[59] It was, however, a party to the Cotonou Accord. Yet by the end of 1993 the tensions within ULIMO had begun to reemerge, leading to open conflict between the Kromah faction and a predominantly Krahn group, now led by General Roosevelt Johnson. Raleigh Seekie, still based in Freetown, appeared no longer to be a significant force.[60]

In December 1993, ULIMO launched an attack on traders across the Guinean border whom it accused of supplying the NPFL. About 20 traders, mainly from the Mandingo ethnic group, were killed.[61] Considering the history of hostility between the NPFL and Mandingo traders, as well as the fact that one faction of ULIMO consists of Guinea-based Mandingos, it seems likely that these were early signs of the renewed faction fight. A serious outbreak of fighting in early March 1994 left about 200 dead.[62] On 12 March, General Johnson announced that he was reconciled with Alhaji Kromah, called on all members of the organization to unite and confirmed that his fighters would comply with the Cotonou disarmament process.[63] Then, further fighting broke out in Tubmanburg leaving at least 80 people dead.[64] More than 4,000 civilians were displaced and took refuge in the Duazohn area.[65] However, West Africa reported that many ULIMO fighters weary of the faction fighting had surrendered their weapons to the ECOMOG encampment at Todec in Montserrado County.[66]

On 11 May 1994 leaders of the two factions met in Monrovia and agreed a cease-fire. However, fighting continued, with the Mandingos claiming that the Krahns had attacked them at Suehn.[67] Later in the month fighting broke out at the ULIMO headquarters in Tubmanburg.[68] In June, reports reaching Freetown indicated that some 50 people had died in clashes between the rival factions along the Sierra Leone/Liberia border.[69]

The outcome of this was that when Alhaji Kromah signed the Akosombo agreement in September 1994, members of General Johnson's faction were reported to have taken part in the abortive coup led by General Charles Julu of the AFL.[70] (The Johnson faction was represented at the Akosombo talks but did not sign the agreement.)[71] It is clear that for all practical purposes the two wings of ULIMO have now to be regarded as separate organizations.

7.3 The Break-Up of the NPFL

When the Cotonou Accord was signed, the NPFL had lost considerable ground under pressure from ECOMOG aerial bombardment and ULIMO, but still retained control of more than half the country. Since then, however, it has lost further ground to ULIMO in the north-west and, more especially, to the LPC in the south-east. Already by October 1993 it appeared that serious divisions were emerging within the organization over how fully the NPFL should be committed to the peace process. Sixteen NPFL members were reported to have died in internal faction fighting in the Harbel area.[72] Sporadic outbreaks of fighting continued throughout the first half of 1994 between pro- and anti-Taylor factions in Bong and Grand Gedeh counties, although this went largely unnoticed because it could not easily be distinguished from the frequent clashes between the NPFL and the LPC.[73]

By July, the split came into the open when three NPFL ministers in the transitional government - Tom Woewiyu, Laveli Supuwood and Samuel Dokie - publicly welcomed the West African peace initiative and called for an acceleration of the disarmament process. Tom Woewiyu, the Minister of Labour, held a press conference in which he made an outspoken attack on Charles Taylor.[74]

In August 1994, open fighting broke out in the NPFL headquarters of Gbarnga, with General Nixon Gaye, chief of staff of the NPFL strike force - a man with a reputation for extreme brutality - throwing in his lot with the Woewiyu faction. General Gaye was reportedly captured by supporters of Charles Taylor, tortured and executed.[75] ULIMO took advantage of NPFL disarray to mount a major attack on Gbarnga.[76]

Rejecting Charles Taylor's signing of the Akosombo agreement, Tom Woewiyu announced that the Central Revolutionary Council (CRC), the ruling body of the NPFL, had appointed him leader of the movement. He said that fighters loyal to the CRC were in control of the NPFL capital, Gbarnga.[77] Some 100,000 new refugees crossed the border into Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire.[78]

Charles Taylor was reported to be in the area of Danané in eastern Côte d'Ivoire, unable to get back across the border. As with ULIMO, the split in the NPFL appeared irrevocable.

8. THE ROLE OF ECOMOG AND THE UN

8.1 ECOMOG

In August 1990, a group of West African governments, under the aegis of the Economic Community of West African States, decided to send a peacekeeping force into Monrovia. The Economic Community Cease-fire Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) is still in Liberia more than four years later. In June 1993, Africa Watch divided the ECOMOG intervention into three phases: from August to November 1990, the initial intervention that led to a cease-fire; from November 1990 to October 1992, the fragile truce; and from October 1992 onwards, the renewed war.[79] To these a fourth phase must now be added: from August 1993, when the Cotonou accord came into effect, until the present - the period of the 'expanded ECOMOG'.

The motives for the intervention have been a matter of unending speculation. The overwhelming bulk of ECOMOG troops - now some 16,000-strong - have always been Nigerian. Former President Ibrahim Babangida was a close ally of President Doe (who was still in power at the time of the initial intervention) and both NPFL supporters and Nigerian dissidents allege that senior Nigerian officials had important business interests in Liberia.[80] The other troops in ECOMOG are from Ghana, Sierra Leone, Guinea and the Gambia.[81] All, except the Gambia, are nearby countries with political interests in Liberia - including the fact that in August 1990 many of their citizens were effectively held hostage in Monrovia. A Senegalese contingent which formed part of ECOMOG for a while was well regarded by the civilian population as being politically impartial and less inclined to loot.[82]

In the initial period ECOMOG achieved a number of objectives, returning a semblance of order to Monrovia, reducing human rights abuses, obtaining a cease-fire, facilitating humanitarian operations and allowing the formation of the Interim Government of National Unity. Even today it remains true that the only part of Liberia with an effectively functioning civil society - including an independent press, churches and human rights groups - is the Monrovia area which remains under ECOMOG control.[83]

In October 1992, the cease-fire definitively broke down with an all-out NPFL assault on Monrovia. In response, ECOMOG forged an effective alliance with the AFL and ULIMO. Repeated allegations that ECOMOG arms the AFL and ULIMO are difficult to substantiate, but there is little doubt that the West African force has worked closely with these two factions. It was at this point, in January 1993, that the Senegalese ECOMOG contingent withdrew.[84] At around the same time, the United States Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Herman Cohen, made an unguarded remark in a radio interview:

ECOWAS is no longer a neutral party... ECOMOG... [is] now one of the combatants... so I think the next step... and we are now discussing this in Washington... will be a United Nations intervention to provide a neutral party to try and bring about a political solution.[85]

Assistant Secretary Cohen withdrew his criticism of ECOMOG the next day, but a UN initiative indeed followed shortly afterwards.

ECOMOG's most effective military response to the NPFL offensive, which eventually succeeded in turning the tide, was a series of air strikes by Nigerian Alpha jets. The NPFL has no air force and its territory and military positions could be bombed and strafed with impunity. Both the NPFL and independent observers alleged that ECOMOG planes had hit civilian targets, such as hospitals, the Catholic Relief Services food warehouse in Buchanan, a relief convoy at the Ivoirian border town of Gbinta - as well as markets and crowded streets in Kakata, Gbarnga and Kollila.[86] On 18 April 1993, Nigerian jets attacked a convoy carrying medicine and vaccines for the Belgian organization Medecins sans Frontières (MSF). An MSF representative commented: 'This violent attack against a clearly identified relief convoy marks a serious escalation in the threats against humanitarian operations in the country.'[87]

These attacks may, as some observers concluded, have had the effect of turning civilians in the NPFL areas against ECOMOG - which was hardly their intention.[88] They certainly cast doubt on ECOMOG's neutrality and lent substance to Charles Taylor's allegation that the West African force was simply another warring faction.[89]

The effect was that under the Cotonou Accord, the NPFL was not required to hand its arms to any of the existing ECOMOG forces, but only to members of the 'expanded ECOMOG' which was also intended to include troops from Zimbabwe, Egypt, Tanzania and Uganda. In the event only the latter two countries provided personnel, who did not arrive until several months after the agreement. In September 1994, after four Tanzanian soldiers were ambushed and killed by the Roosevelt Johnson faction of ULIMO, there were indications that Tanzania would withdraw.[90]

Reports of the renewed fighting from August 1994 onwards suggested that the anti-NPFL coalition of ULIMO, LPC and AFL forces had 'the clandestine support of some elements within ECOMOG', suggesting that the neutrality and moral authority of the peacekeeping force was still in serious doubt.[91]

8.2 The United Nations

The UN's direct involvement in Liberia only began after the breakdown of the cease-fire in October 1992. Up to that point the Secretary General and Security Council had taken no independent initiative and had simply endorsed the policy of ECOWAS and the ECOMOG intervention. In a speech at the 1993 summit of the Organization of African Unity, Boutros Boutros-Ghali said: 'Liberia is a good example of the type of co-operation between the United Nations and a regional organisation that was envisaged in Chapter VIII of the Charter.'[92] The Secretary General's representative at major meetings on Liberia was Under-Secretary-General James Jonah - a Sierra Leonean, which fuelled NPFL suspicion of whether the UN was really impartial.[93]

In November 1992, the Security Council imposed an embargo on the supply of all weapons and equipment to Liberia, except for those destined for ECOMOG. (Reportedly France wanted to apply the embargo to ECOMOG too, on the grounds that it was a warring faction - reflecting the general mood of support for the NPFL among francophone states.) It also required the Secretary-General to appoint a Special Representative. Trevor Gordon-Somers made several visits to Liberia and the region before submitting his first report. The NPFL's suspicions of the UN role were reinforced by the report. Trevor Gordon-Somers had been taken to see hospitals, schools and warehouses which had been hit by ECOMOG bombs. Yet his report only stated that 'Mr. Taylor complained' of ECOMOG bombardment, rather than reporting it as established fact.[94]

The Geneva peace talks, which led to the agreement signed in Cotonou on 25 July 1993, was the most visible achievement of the UN involvement, not least because the 1 August cease-fire should have given humanitarian agencies access to the bulk of the population, which remained in the NPFL's 'Greater Liberia'. Yet it emerged that on 30 July 1993, Trevor Gordon-Somers had cabled the government of Côte d'Ivoire, telling it not to allow a relief convoy from Medecins sans Frontières across the border into NPFL-held territory because it was 'not authorised by ECOMOG' and 'could threaten the peace agreement'.[95] The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) commented:

The urgency of the situation is such that any delay is costing civilian lives, the ICRC... cannot accept that humanitarian aid, urgently needed by a large civilian population, is being blocked for political reasons. This would be a grave violation of international humanitarian law as well as against the UN Security Council resolution on Liberia.[96]

The Cotonou Accord envisaged a UN Observer Mission to Liberia (UNOMIL) of 303 military observers. However, their deployment was delayed by the late arrival of the Ugandan and Tanzanian contingents of the 'expanded ECOMOG' who were responsible for their security. When the observers were finally deployed at the end of 1993, they were still the target of considerable hostility from the NPFL - who, for example, kidnapped 43 UN personnel in September 1994 - but could nevertheless be seen to be acting with an impartiality which was not always evident in the behaviour of ECOMOG.[97] This image of impartiality had been reinforced with the publication of the report of the Secretary General's commission of inquiry into the Harbel massacre, which squarely blamed the AFL and was highly critical of the ECOMOG role.[98]

Relations between the UN and ECOMOG became tense, with the latter upset because it saw UNOMIL's role as straying into supervising disarmament rather than simply observing it. ECOMOG's Nigerian leadership became concerned by public statements from UNOMIL which they saw as naive and over-trusting of Charles Taylor.[99]

The UN's credibility was further undermined by the role of Trevor Gordon-Somers in negotiating the September 1994 Akosombo agreement. Whatever the deficiencies of the Cotonou Accord, it had at least succeeded in establishing the transitional government and strengthening the purely civilian constituency which had a vested interest in peace. The Akosombo talks were officially intended to 'add further detail' to the Cotonou Accord.[100] In practice, it would entail dissolving the existing transitional government and replacing it with new nominees of the three factions who signed the Akosombo agreement. West Africa, normally strongly in favour of both ECOMOG and the UN in Liberia commented:

It is not clear exactly what made Mr Gordon-Somers make such dedicated effort to rescue the warlords from their dilemma of loss of authority. The UN security structure had not only been reporting the breakdown of the NPFL command structure for several months, but had also fallen victim to the devastating abdication of order in NPFL and Ulimo held areas in recent times, so he can hardly plead ignorance.[101]

Given that Charles Taylor had been the principal obstacle to the success of previous peace agreements, notably Yamoussoukro IV and Cotonou, because of his failure to disarm, it is unclear why Trevor Gordon-Somers and his co-negotiator, former US President Jimmy Carter, decided to throw him a lifeline just as his own organization was rejecting him.[102] The immediate effect of Akosombo was not to bring peace but to precipitate the most serious outbreak of fighting since before the Cotonou agreement, increasing the suffering of the population and the burden on humanitarian agencies and neighbouring countries. If Akosombo is judged in the long run to have had a positive effect, it will only be because it succeeded in uniting all the civilian politicians against it, which can scarcely have been the intention.

The NPFL's kidnapping of 43 UN military observers and the declining security in the country was almost certain to lead to a reduction in the number of UNOMIL personnel, ECOMOG being apparently unable to guarantee their safety.[103]

9. ETHNICITY AND POLITICS

One devastating effect of the years since Master Sergeant Doe seized power has been the introduction of the ethnic factor into Liberian politics. Before 1980, ethnic distinctions were remarkably fluid, even by African standards, and were to some extent categories imposed by missionaries and other outsiders. Liberian society was noted for its capacity to 'creolise' or syncretise outside influences, which led to a strong sense of national identity. By contrast with members of the 'same' ethnic groups in neighbouring Côte d'Ivoire or Guinea, Liberians tended to be Western and liberal in their dress and social mores. This was seen particularly in a relatively liberal attitude towards women, who played an active role in society.[104]

The main ethnic distinction in pre-1980 politics was between Americo-Liberians and the rest. The settlers, in common with colonial powers elsewhere in Africa, classified the indigenous population somewhat arbitrarily into "tribes", based upon linguistic divisions. However, the 16 linguistic groups defined by the Americo-Liberians begged many questions, since they were far from homogeneous - with many sub-dialects - and there was frequent social contact and intermarriage between the "tribes".[105] Since 1980 all this has changed. As a consequence of the policies of the Doe government, politics have become dominated by the rivalries of the Krahn, the Gio/Mano and the Mandingo. The irony is that the largest groups - the Kpelle and the Bassa - have not been seen as significant political actors. The Krahn and the Mandingo are both small minorities (4.7 and 3.9 per cent respectively), while the Gio/Mano, although the third largest group in the country, only account for 16.1 per cent of the population.[106] It has been noted, for example, that when the NPFL held the port of Buchanan, there was considerable tension between the mainly Gio and Mano fighters and the largely Bassa civilian population.[107] Another irony is the continued prominence of Americo-Liberians - notably Charles Taylor - in manipulating these 'traditional' ethnic loyalties. (Charles McArthur Taylor has recently claimed Gola ancestry and is now known as Charles Ghankay Taylor.)[108]

Berkeley comments that 'Doe's signature innovation was to ethnicise the armed forces of Liberia, stacking the officer corps and key units with Krahn.'[109] The government's targeting of the Gio and Mano in the aftermath of the 1985 elections and attempted coup was what allowed Charles Taylor and the NPFL to mount its successful incursion into Nimba County in 1989. The government's heavy-handed and brutal response only increased resentment against the groups regarded as being responsible - the Krahn and Mandingo.[110] As far back as 1985, perceptive observers feared the danger of anti-Krahn genocide, given the awful atrocities perpetrated by the Doe government and the vulnerability of the Krahns as a small minority.[111]

10. THE EFFECTS OF WAR

The war and the years of military dictatorship have had a devastating effect on the social and economic fabric of Liberia. By October 1994 the human cost of the war was as high as it had ever been. The resumption of fighting meant that some half a million people were out of reach of emergency assistance, according to the World Food Programme. The International Committee of the Red Cross was forced to abandon Monrovia and commented, with uncharacteristic emotion:

Since widespread fighting flared up again between the various factions, civilians have been subjected to the most appalling abuses. Murder and destruction are accompanied by systematic looting. The consequence, but also the cause, of this suffering and these crimes is the total breakdown of all moral standards and complete disregard for the principles and values ... of human society. Once those barriers have fallen, little remains but cruelty and horror.[112]

10.1 Economic Collapse

The deaths of up to 200,000 Liberians and the displacement of about half the population have had a severe impact on the economy - which in turn has exacerbated the effects of food shortages, with up to 150 children a day dying from malnutrition. In the battle for Monrovia in 1990 virtually every building was looted - homes, shops, offices, government ministries, hospitals, embassies, churches and banks. Nearly $100 million in cash disappeared - almost half the money in circulation.[113]

Relief operations, which are now the country's major source of foreign exchange, are also extremely vulnerable to looting. In the renewed fighting in late 1994, for example, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) lost nearly $1 million worth of drugs and supplies in Bong County alone. At the same time, UNOMIL, other UN agencies and humanitarian agencies lost over 80 vehicles, tens of thousands of gallons of fuel, hundreds of tons of food, communications equipment and other supplies worth millions of dollars.[114]

Some types of economic activity have ceased almost entirely: for example, the country's maritime programme, which was a major foreign exchange earner. Some agribusinesses, such as the US Firestone corporation which controlled rubber production, have fled because of the war, although there is evidence that rubber processing continued under the control of the NPFL, while it was in control of the company's Harbel headquarters.[115]

Other activities continue - for example iron ore mining, the major pre-war source of foreign exchange, and logging - but under the control of the NPFL and, to a lesser extent, ULIMO. The NPFL has sold timber to European firms for hard currency which is used for arms purchases. It is widely believed to be shipped through the Ivoirian port of San-Pédro.[116] One measure of Liberia's economic decline has been the fall of the Liberian dollar from parity with the US dollar to 45:1 at the end of 1993, with the result that many Monrovia businesses have had to suspend trading. The retail trade has been disrupted, both because of the deliberate targeting of Mandingo traders by the NPFL and because of general disruption which has driven out other trading communities, such as the Lebanese.[117]

10.2 The Rise in Ritual Killings

One development in the years since Samuel Doe took power which has not been widely reported in the outside world is the increased use of ritual killings and human sacrifice for political purposes. The most celebrated case was that of the Minister of Defence, Gray D. Allison, who was convicted in 1989 of being an accessory to the ritual killing of a policeman. Ritual killings are performed to obtain body parts such as the heart, kidneys, sexual organs, tongue or blood in order to make 'medicine'. The intention is to strengthen the person who takes the 'medicine' or to bring misfortune on enemies.[118] A Danish missionary who was in Liberia from 1981 to 1992 has noted:

During the years I have been in Liberia the ritual killings have normally occurred in connection with gaining and preserving political power. And they always increased before political elections. Only very few of these killings were cleared up. Perhaps the very reason was that they were ordered by very powerful and influential persons.[119]

A particularly notorious instance was the treatment meted out to Thomas Quiwonkpa, leader of the failed 1985 coup attempt, who was dismembered and disembowelled by government forces after being captured.

In the civil war beginning in 1989 all the armies are reported to have executed prisoners and used their viscera and blood to make 'medicine'. This is often said to have the effect of making the user invulnerable in battle. Forced recruits are often made to carry out such killings as a form of initiation into the organization and to implicate them in its atrocities.[120]

10.3 The Child Soldiers

The civil war in Liberia has been a children's war. All factions except the AFL have used many thousands of soldiers under the age of 18, including some as young as eight or nine. It is estimated that 20 per cent of fighters in Liberia are under 18, 10 per cent under 15.[121] The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child defines as a child as any person under 18. The Geneva Conventions prohibit the recruitment of anyone under 15. The rationale given by the armed factions for recruiting children is often that they were orphans whose families had been wiped out by rival armed groups. It is indeed true that many children have witnessed their families being killed with the utmost brutality. However, in many instances children have been forcibly recruited and compelled to take part in atrocities.[122]

The World Health Organization reported in February 1994 that nearly two-thirds of high school students in Liberia had seen someone killed, tortured or raped and that 77 per cent had lost a close relative. Many children surveyed suffered serious psychological disturbance.[123] Human Rights Watch observed that children who had played an active part in the war had experience additional horrors and display symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome including nightmares, insomnia, bed-wetting, aggression and hyperactivity. Many observers comment on the inability of child soldiers to make informed moral choices about their actions, because of their youth and the atrocities they have witnessed and taken part in.[124] The problem of reintegrating child soldiers into their community is a major one which needs to be overcome before these children reach adulthood. Africa Report comments: 'Hope for Liberia's future, and for its next generation, rests with the society's ability to reintegrate the boy soldiers, before they become men who rely on the power of the gun'.[125] There is no doubt that the brutalization and traumatization of an entire generation makes any return to 'normality' increasingly elusive. As one commentator has observed:

Liberians have a family-centered culture in which one's own and other's [sic] children are traditionally shown great affection. The importance of family life has survived other crises in Liberia. However, the current rending of this social fabric by the civil war will affect the roles and relationships of children and adults for years to come.[126]

10.4 Rape and Other Sexual Violence

Inevitably, women and young girls have been particular victims of the war, suffering a dramatic increase in rape and sexual harassment. In some areas the rate of teenage pregnancy has roughly doubled, with corresponding effects on the educational level and social status of girls. Even more serious in the long term is the rapid spread of HIV infection, as a result of rape, sexual coercion and forced prostitution in Liberia and among refugees in neighbouring countries. A prevalence rate of about 0.7 per cent in April 1990 increased to an estimated 8 per cent among blood donors in 1992.[127]

11. THE WARLORD SYSTEM - 'ORGANISED GANGSTERISM'

One of the major obstacles to peace in Liberia is, curiously, not often discussed: the major armed factions all have a vested interest in continuing chaos. That was the real meaning of the Akosombo accord which, despite its talk of elections timetables and disarmament is seen by most people, in the words of the Independent, as a deal between the warlords 'carving up the country among themselves'.[128] Especially since the failure of the NPFL's 'Operation Octopus' in October 1992, the war has not really revolved around the question of who forms the government of Liberia. Since 1990 successive governments have only controlled Monrovia and its immediate environs. The bulk of the country has been under the shifting control of the different armed factions: NPFL, ULIMO and, latterly, the LPC.

The economic gains to be made from warlord activities are enormous. The chief prize has been Nimba County, with its iron ore deposits and timber, which Charles Taylor has been able to sell in exchange for arms and foreign exchange. It is, as Berkeley puts it, a system 'best described as organised gangsterism'.[129]

The rule of the Liberian warlords has spread beyond national boundaries. Charles Taylor launched his 1989 insurgency from Côte d'Ivoire and has always maintained a close relationship with that country's government. He needs an outlet to the sea for his exports and, particularly in periods when the NPFL has not controlled the Liberian port of Buchanan, this has apparently been through the port of San-Pédro in Côte d'Ivoire.[130] The NPFL operates without any restriction in the western region of Côte d'Ivoire, even on occasions being transported in Ivoirian army trucks.[131] Charles Taylor is alleged to be guarded by Ivoirian gendarmes and soldiers when he visits Côte d'Ivoire.[132] His Abidjan house is reported to have an Ivoirian police guard.[133] The town of Danané has a hotel which functions as a major NPFL headquarters and often appears more Liberian than Ivoirian.[134]

There have been repeated allegations of breaches of the international arms embargo by shipments to the NPFL through Côte d'Ivoire. West Africa even claimed that NPFL arms have been stored in relief warehouses in San-Pédro and Danané.[135] Relief officials echo the suspicion that supplies for the NPFl regularly cross the border.[136] In August 1994, ECOMOG alleged that a convoy of 12 vehicles crossed the border from Côte d'Ivoire carrying arms for the Charles Taylor faction of the NPFL. The Ivoirian government denied involvement in the shipment.[137] In October 1994, three rival factions - the Roosevelt Johnson wing of ULIMO, the LDF and the LPC - alleged that the NPFL, displaced from Gbarnga, was now using Danané as its main base. They claimed that the NPFL's General Isaac Musa had moved arms, ammunition and troops from Côte d'Ivoire into Liberia.[138] In September 1994 there were nearly a dozen reported incidents of NPFL attacks into Côte d'Ivoire. In the most serious, four people were killed in a raid on the border village of Péhé-kanhouebli, 100 kilometres south of Danané. On this occasion Ivoirian troops returned fire, killing one of the attackers.[139]

However, the Ivoirian Government is not a disinterested party, with senior figures, notably the late President Félix Houphouet-Boigny, reported to share business interests with Charles Taylor. President Houphouet Boigny was known to have had substantial pre-war investments in Liberia, for example in the Firestone rubber plantation.[140]

Equally, former President Ibrahim Babangida of Nigeria was credibly alleged to be a close associate of the late President Doe.[141] Assistance from the predominantly Nigerian ECOMOG troops to the AFL and ULIMO is well documented, with increasing recent allegations of support for the LPC.[142] It is widely alleged that the Nigerian military government is determined that Charles Taylor should under no circumstances become President of Liberia. The Information Minister of Ghana - one of Nigeria's ECOMOG partners - is reported as saying: 'There's a Nigerian passion to annihilate Charles Taylor.'[143]

The war in eastern Sierra Leone is also in many respects an extension of the Liberian conflict. Senior members of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), including its leader Foday Sankoh, had fought for the NPFL before launching their incursion into Sierra Leone's main diamond and gold-producing region in 1991. The forces which stemmed their advance then included Liberian irregulars, mainly Krahns from the AFL who went on to form one wing of ULIMO.[144] The Sierra Leone conflict, in turn, has spilt over into Liberia, with some 100,000 refugees crossing into Lofa County.[145] On at least one occasion, Nigerian jets operating on behalf of the Sierra Leone government have raided across the border into Liberia, killing refugees.[146] Sierra Leonean regular troops are reported to have intervened across the Liberian border in support of ULIMO.[147]

The failure of the Sierra Leone government to suppress the RUF was a major reason for the coup d'etat which brought the military government of Lieutenant Valentine Strasser to power in 1992. However, the young officers of the National Provisional Revolutionary Council have had as little success as their civilian predecessors. In recent months the Sierra Leone army has begun to disintegrate, with large numbers of deserters - known as 'sobels' - taking up banditry. According to some accounts they have become a more serious threat to security than the RUF. For its part the RUF now appears to be in alliance with ULIMO, its former adversary.[148]

The shift in alliances between the Sierra Leone army, the RUF and ULIMO illustrates a phenomenon which is common right across the warlord zone which stretches from Sierra Leone, across Liberia, into Côte d'Ivoire. Political allegiances count for nothing and ethnic sentiment, although it is shamelessly manipulated by political leaders, is not the main motivating factor. The aim of the warlords is to exercise power and control wealth. Alliances can be shifted at will to achieve that aim. Thus the leadership of the NPFL - with a fair sprinkling of Americo-Liberians such as Charles Taylor himself - mobilised Gio and Mano hostility to the Mandingos, whom they saw as informers for the Krahn-dominated government. Yet the benefit to the NPFL leadership of anti-Mandingo pogroms was that it gave them access to trading networks previously controlled by the Mandingo community.

This system requires arms and control of territory. Thus the last thing that the armed faction leaders want are the essential elements of a peace process: disarmament, monitoring of respect for human rights and a democratic, accountable government with control over the entire national territory.

12. CONCLUSION

The prospects for Liberia look fairly grim. There is no very compelling reason for believing that there have been sufficient changes to allow the transitional government to overcome the factors which led to the collapse of all previous peace agreements.

On the other hand, there are several imponderable elements in the situation which might not turn out to be wholly negative:

• The crisis over the Akosombo agreement and the break-up of the NPFL have in some respects strengthened the transitional government, if only by reinforcing its moral authority. If it can continue to grow in stature that is a hopeful sign.

• The energetic role played by the national conference - again roundly rejecting the Akosombo agreement - is similarly positive.

• Charles Taylor has been the dominant figure in Liberian politics for the past five years. If he is now removed from the scene - which is far from certain - it is unclear how that void will be filled. This may be an opportunity for the transitional government to strengthen itself or it may simply reinforce rival warlords.

• The future of ECOMOG is unclear. Tanzania seems certain to pull out and Ghana has been making threatening noises about withdrawing for some months. Even Nigeria periodically says that it will withdraw or phase out its involvement. Much may depend on internal political developments in Nigeria.

• The long-term future of the UN in Liberia is unclear, given major funding problems, other priorities and the open-ended nature of any commitment to the country.

Much hinges on the role of ECOMOG. In the rare instances when a country has managed to pull itself out of the sort of abyss that Liberia is now in it has needed a well-trained, disciplined and committed army - as with the National Resistance Army in Uganda. However, there is no possible candidate for that role in Liberia.

ECOMOG, which continues to be the main medium for international intervention in the Liberian conflict has appeared hopelessly compromised as a belligerent party and was responsible for war crimes and human rights abuses. In the latest coalition offensive against the NPFL, it has continued to be identified with a particular political agenda. Nevertheless, the UN clearly envisages continued - and possibly increased - support for ECOMOG as its main form of continued intervention.[149] Now that the NPFL's military influence is greatly reduced, the test of ECOMOG's capacity to play this role will be whether or not it takes a firm line over the disarmament of the other factions.

A report by the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy in October 1994 underlined the regional dimensions of the Liberian conflict, pointing out that 'if left unchecked, the crisis in Liberia would undoubtedly affect the stability of its direct neighbours - as it is already doing - as well as the stability of West Africa'. With the number of Liberian refugees in West African countries steadily approaching one million, this is clearly no exaggeration. The Liberian warlord system has already spilled across national borders into Sierra Leone and Côte d'Ivoire. Unfortunately West African intervention has proved largely ineffective at checking these developments. When the decision to form ECOMOG was announced in 1990, one commentator remarked of the participating countries: 'All are ruled with a strong arm by military or civilian dictators and have little experience with democracy.'[150] (This was slightly unfair on the elected government of the Gambia which has, however, since been overthrown in a military coup.) Human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have repeatedly criticised the lack of a human rights mandate for ECOMOG.[151] Although ECOMOG has indeed proved more effective at guaranteeing human rights in the Monrovia area than other armed groups have elsewhere, there remains a strong suspicion that the West African governments involved are less concerned with ending the warlord system than with making sure that their favoured warlords end up in control.

The emergence of the civilian national conference and the growing authority of the transitional government are encouraging signs. But they depend for their success on the protection of ECOMOG. Ironically, then, the future of democracy in Liberia may lie in the hands of the unelected military rulers of Nigeria.

13. APPENDIX: PRINCIPAL LIBERIAN ARMED FACTIONS, 1989-1994

AFL Armed Forces of Liberia, formerly the national army, Krahn-dominated, led until October 1994 by General Hezekiah Bowen.

BDF Bong Defence Front, aligned to the Alhaji Kromah faction of ULIMO (see below), operating in NPFL-held territory in Bong County.

Black Berets Unit of several hundred soldiers created in 1992 by the former Interim Government of National Unity. Unclear if it is still operational.

INPFL Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia, split from NPFL (see below) in 1990, led by Prince Yormie Johnson. Dissolved 1992.

LDF Lofa Defence Front, aligned to the NPFL, operating in ULIMO-held territory in Lofa County.

LNH Liberia New Horizons, led by Charles Julu and William Glay, both Krahns, emerged in May 1994 advocating 'strong military-style government'. In September 1994 Charles Julu was arrested and charged with treason for his part in an attempted coup by AFL personnel against the transitional government.

LPC Liberian Peace Council, emerged 1993, composed of mainly Krahn former supporters of the AFL and ULIMO, led by George Boley.

LUDF Liberian United Democratic Front, Krahn faction of former AFL soldiers, led by Arma Youlu. Emerged 1991 in Sierra Leone and later merged into ULIMO.

NPFL National Patriotic Front of Liberia, launched invasion of Nimba County in 1989 under leadership of Charles Taylor, acquired largely Gio and Mano membership. INPFL split in 1990. Between 1990 and 1994 NPFL controlled the bulk of the national territory, which it styled 'Greater Liberia', ruling through the National Patriotic Reconstruction Assembly Government (NPRAG), based in Gbarnga. In 1994 a substantial faction of the NPFL split from Charles Taylor because of his alleged lack of commitment to the peace process.

NRC Nimba Redemption Council, formed 1993, anti-NPFL group led by Karpeh Dwanyen.

RUF Revolutionary United Front, Sierra Leonean rebel organization in alliance with NPFL and latterly ULIMO. The RUF launched an incursion into eastern Sierra Leone in 1991 with NPFL support, but claims to have been in existence since the early 1980s. Led by Foday Sankoh.

ULIMO United Liberation Front for Democracy in Liberia, formed 1991, with the backing of the Sierra Leonean government, as a fusion of the LUDF and a Mandingo-dominated faction led by Alhaji G.V Kromah. Latent tensions between the Krahn faction, led by General Roosevelt Johnson, and the Mandingo faction broke out in open conflict in 1994. The two factions now effectively function as separate organizations.

14. BIBLIOGRAPHY

Africa Confidential [London], 'Liberia: Wild Cards in the Pack', 22 November 1991

___, 'Liberia: Problematic Peacekeeping', 4 March 1994

___, 1 April 1994

Africa Events [London], 'UN-level Playing Field', April 1993

___, 'War Tears up Liberation', November 1993

Africa Report [New York], 'Liberia: Targeting Taylor', July-August 1993

___, 'The Child Soldiers', July-August 1994

Africa South of the Sahara, 1994. London: Europa Publications, 1994

Africa Watch. Liberia: Flight from Terror. April 1990

___. 'Liberia: A Human Rights Disaster', 26 October 1990

___. 'Liberia: The Cycle of Abuse - Human Rights Violations Since the November Cease-fire', 21 October 1991

___. Liberia: Waging War to Keep the Peace: The ECOMOG Intervention and Human Rights. June 1993

Agence France Presse, 2 July 1993, 16 September 1993, 20 September 1993, 11 October 1993, 19 October 1993, 7-8 November 1993, 12 November 1993, 7 January 1994, 8 March 1994, 10 March 1994, 12 March 1994, 28 March 1994, 10 May 1994, 11 May 1994, 27 May 1994, 27 June 1994, 19 September 1994, 23 September 1993, 29 September 1994, 6 October 1994

Amnesty International Report, 1979-1994

Amnesty International, 'Liberia: Risk of Human Rights Violations as Conflict Increases', AI Index: AFR 34/WU 02/92, 25 November 1992

___, 'Liberia: Amnesty International Condemns Killings', 9 June 1993, AI Index: AFR 34/WU 01/93

Avebury, Eric 'Liberia: the Role of the United Nations', Royal African Society, 28 September 1993

BBC Network Africa, 11 November 1992

BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 6 September 1993, 27 September 1993, 4 December 1993, 10 February 1994, 10 March 1994, 1 April 1994, 17 September 1994, 21 September 1994, 4 October 1994

Berkeley, Bill, 'Liberia: Between Repression and Slaughter', The Atlantic (December 1992)

Bonsoir [Abidjan], 'Danané, otage des réfugiés libériens', 12 October 1993

Civil Liberties Organisation [Lagos], The Status of Refugee Rights in Nigeria, October 1992

Denmark. Refugee Appeals Board, Case number 1992-21-3819, Decision of 10 March 1993

Guardian [London], 'Defiant Taylor "Will not Surrender"', 27 March 1993

___, 'W African Peacemakers Take Offensive as Impartiality Remains in Doubt', 29 May 1993

___, 'Liberian Rebels Say Taylor has Fled HQ', 8 September 1994

___, 'Peacekeepers Put Down Liberian Coup Attempt', 16 September 1994

___, 'Liberians "Out of Reach" of Aid', 6 October 1994

Human Rights Watch, 'Liberia: Human Rights Abuses by the Liberian Peace Council and the Need for International Oversight', 17 May 1994

___, Human Rights in Africa and U.S. Policy, July 1994

___, Easy Prey: Child Soldiers in Liberia, September 1994

INS Resource Information Center, Liberia: Disintegration of the Liberian Nation Since the 1989 Civil War, [AL/LBR/94.001], November 1993

Independent [London], 19 July 1993

___, 'Liberian lives at risk as UN blocks food aid', 2 September 1993

___, 'Liberia fighting flares after peace', 15 September 1994

___, 'Factions carve up Liberia and restart fighting', 16 September 1994

International Human Rights Internship Program and Swedish NGO Foundation for Human Rights, The Status of Human Rights Organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1994

International Security Digest [London], August 1994

Inter Press Service, 10 February 1994, 15 February 1994, 10 August 1994

Krarup, Grete 'The Heart Men', Ethiopien, 8, 1983

Lawyers Committee for Human Rights. Liberia: A Promise Betrayed. 1986

Liberia Working Group Newsletter, No. 7 (January 1993)

Marchés Tropicaux et Méditérranées [Paris], 'La compagnie américaine Firestone accusée d'aider l'NPFL', 19 March 1993

Nelson, Harold D. (ed). Liberia: A Country Study. (Area Handbook Series) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1984

New African [London], 'Conspiracy of Silence?' and 'Nigeria to Blame', May 1993

___, September 1994

Reuters, 19 April 1993

___, 7 June 1993

___, 'Liberia's Foes Join in Peace Presidency', 7 March 1994

Schmidt, Olav, 'Statement [to the Danish Refugee Appeals Board] Concerning Ritual Killings and Human Sacrifices in Liberia', December 1992

Swiss, Shana. Liberia: Anguish in a Divided Land. Physicians for Human Rights, May 1992

United Nations, 'Results of an Investigation by the Panel of Inquiry Appointed by the Secretary General into the Massacre near Harbel, Liberia, on the Night of June 5/6, 1993', New York, 10 September 1993

UNHCR, 'Liberia fact sheet', 6 October 1993

UNHCR/CDR, 'Background Paper on Liberian Refugees and Asylum Seekers', October 1994

United Nations. Security Council, 'Report of the Secretary-General on the Question of Liberia', [S/25402] 12 March 1993

___, 'Seventh Progress Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia', S/1994/1167, 14 October 1994

United Nations. Secretary-General, Speech to Heads of State and Government, OAU Summit, Cairo, 28 June 1993, UN Press Release SG/SM/5029

US Committee for Refugees. Uprooted Liberians: Casualties of a Brutal War. 1992

La Voie [Abidjan], 'Face aux menaces de l'ULIMO, les inquiétudes des populations frontalières', September 1992

___, 'Une grave accusation contre nos policiers', 19 September 1993

Washington Post, 'African Dictators Embark on Democratic Mission', 10 August 1990

The Weekly Mail and Guardian [Johannesburg], 'Naked Truth about Liberia's Civil War', 12 August 1994

West Africa [London], 'The Nimba Equation', 1 March 1993

___, 'Liberia: The Abidjan Factor', 8 March 1993

___, 'Dwanyen Speaks Out', 22 March 1993

___, 'The Firestone Factor', 5 April 1993

___, 'The Relief Game', 17 May 1993

___, '"We Have Surprised Ourselves"', 9 August 1993

___, 'Danger Signals in Monrovia', 18 October 1993

___, 'Threat to Peace', 6 December 1993

___, 'Breaking the Stalemate' 7 March 1994

___, 'The Gamble for Peace', 21 March 1994

___, 'ULIMO Fighters Disarm', 28 March 1994

___, 'Liberia: Human Rights Abuses', 16 May 1994

___, 'Liberia: Reign of Terror', 4 July 1994

___, 'Liberia: Turning the Tables', 1 August 1994

___, 'Taylor's NPFL in Disarray', 5 September 1994

___, 'Taylor's Proposal Rejected', 12 September 1994

___, 'Confusion in Gbarnga', 19 September 1994

___, 'A Surprise "Coup"', 19 September 1994

___, 'The Coup that Went Badly Wrong', 26 September 1994

___, 'Liberia: Old Issues, New Problems', 26 September 1994

Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children. Our Forgotten Family: Liberians: The Plight of Refugees and the Displaced. 1991



[1] Reuters, 'Liberia's Foes Join in Peace Presidency', 7 March 1994

[2] Liberia Working Group Newsletter, No. 7 (January 1993); UNHCR, 'Liberia Fact Sheet', 6 October 1993; Human Rights Watch, Easy Prey: Child Soldiers in Liberia, September 1994; United Nations Security Council, 'Report of the Secretary-General on the Question of Liberia', [S/25402] 12 March 1993

[3] United Nations. Security Council, 'Seventh Progress Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia', S/1994/1167, 14 October 1994

[4] Ibid.

[5] The following account is based on: US Committee for Refugees, Uprooted Liberians: Casualties of a Brutal War, 1992; Bill Berkeley, 'Liberia: Between Repression and Slaughter', The Atlantic, December 1992; Africa South of the Sahara, 1994 (London: Europa Publications), 1994; INS Resource Information Center, 'Liberia: Disintegration of the Liberian Nation Since the 1989 Civil War', [AL/LBR/94.001], November 1993; Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, Liberia: A Promise Betrayed, 1986; Amnesty International Report, 1979-1990

[6] Berkeley, op. cit.

[7] US Committee for Refugees, op. cit.

[8] Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, op. cit., p. 18

[9] Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, op. cit.; US Committee for Refugees, op. cit.

[10] Berkeley, op. cit.; Africa Watch, Liberia: Flight from Terror, April 1990

[11] The following section draws heavily on the following publications: Africa Watch, Liberia: Flight from Terror, April 1990; 'Liberia: A Human Rights Disaster', 26 October 1990; 'Liberia: The Cycle of Abuse - Human Rights Violations Since the November Cease-fire', 21 October 1991; Liberia: Waging War to Keep the Peace: The ECOMOG Intervention and Human Rights, June 1993; US Committee for Refugees op. cit.; INS Research and Information Center, op. cit.; Berkeley op. cit.; and Africa South of the Sahara 1994

[12] Berkeley, op. cit.

[13] West Africa, 'The Nimba Equation', 1 March 1993

[14] Africa Confidential, 'Liberia: Wild Cards in the Pack', 22 November 1991

[15] INS Resource Information Center, op. cit., pp. 28-29

[16] Reuters, 7 June 1993

[17] Amnesty International, 'Liberia: Amnesty International Condemns Killings', 9 June 1993, AI Index: AFR 34/WU 01/93

[18] United Nations, 'Results of an Investigation by the Panel of Inquiry Appointed by the Secretary General into the Massacre near Harbel, Liberia, on the Night of June 5/6, 1993', New York, 10 September 1993

[19] West Africa, 26 July 1993 and '"We have Surprised Ourselves"', 9 August 1993; The Independent, 19 July 1993

[20] Africa Confidential, 'Liberia: Problematic Peacekeeping', 4 March 1994; West Africa, 'Breaking the Stalemate' 7 March 1994; BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 10 March 1994

[21] Africa Confidential, 'Liberia: Problematic Peacekeeping', 4 March 1994

[22] BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 6 September 1993; Agence France Presse, 16 and 20 September 1993; West Africa, 'Danger Signals in Monrovia', 18 October 1993

[23] Agence France Presse, 19 October 1993

[24] Agence France Presse, 12 November 1993

[25] Agence France Presse, 7-8 November 1993

[26] Agence France Presse, 8 March 1994

[27] Agence France Presse, 10 March, 12 March and 28 March 1994; West Africa, 'The Gamble for Peace', 21 March 1994; Africa Confidential, 1 April 1994

[28] Agence France Presse, 11 October 1993

[29] West Africa, 5 September 1994, 'Taylor's NPFL in Disarray'

[30] Independent, 'Liberia Fighting Flares after Peace', 15 September 1994 and 'Factions Carve up Liberia and Restart Fighting', 16 September 1994; West Africa, 'Confusion in Gbarnga', 19 September 1994

[31] United Nations, 'Seventh Progress Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia', S/1994/1167, 14 October 1994

[32] Independent, 'Factions Carve up Liberia and Restart Fighting', 16 September 1994; West Africa, 'A Surprise "Coup"', 19 September 1994

[33] West Africa, 'A Surprise "Coup"', 19 September 1994

[34] Guardian, 'Peacekeepers Put Down Liberian Coup Attempt', 16 September 1994; West Africa, 'The Coup that Went Badly Wrong', 26 September 1994; United Nations, 'Seventh Progress Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia', S/1994/1167, 14 October 1994

[35] The following section is drawn from the following sources: United States Committee for Refugees, op. cit.; INS Resource Information Center, op. cit.; United Nations, 'Seventh Progress Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia', S/1994/1167, 14 October 1994; author's interviews in Côte d'Ivoire, November 1993

[36] Human Rights Watch, Human Rights in Africa and U.S. Policy, July 1994

[37] United States Committee for Refugees, op. cit.

[38] See section 11, below.

[39] Civil Liberties Organisation [Lagos], The Status of Refugee Rights in Nigeria, October 1992

[40] International Security Digest [London], August 1994

[41] Human Rights Watch, Human Rights in Africa and U.S. Policy, July 1994

[42] Africa Confidential, 'Liberia: Problematic Peacekeeping', 4 March 1994

[43] West Africa, 'The Nimba Equation', 1 March 1993 and 'Dwanyen Speaks Out', 22 March 1993

[44] West Africa, 'Threat to Peace', 6 December 1993

[45] The Weekly Mail and Guardian [Johannesburg], 'Naked Truth about Liberia's Civil War', 12 August 1994

[46] Ibid.; Human Rights Watch, 'Liberia: Human Rights Abuses by the Liberian Peace Council and the Need for International Oversight', 17 May 1994

[47] Author's telephone interview with aid official, Abidjan, November 1993

[48] Human Rights Watch, 'Liberia: Human Rights Abuses by the Liberian Peace Council and the Need for International Oversight', 17 May 1994

[49] BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 4 December 1993; West Africa, 'Threat to Peace', 6 December 1993

[50] BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 10 February 1994

[51] Inter Press Service, 15 February 1994

[52] Inter Press Service, 10 February 1994

[53] West Africa, 'Liberia: Human Rights Abuses', 16 May 1994

[54] West Africa, 'Liberia: Reign of terror', 4 July 1994

[55] West Africa, 'Taylor's Proposal Rejected', 12 September 1994

[56] Africa Confidential, 'Liberia: Wild Cards in the Pack', 22 November 1991

[57] Ibid.

[58] INS Resource Information Center, op. cit., p. 24

[59] Africa Confidential, 'Liberia: Wild Cards in the Pack', 22 November 1991

[60] Africa Confidential, 1 April 1994

[61] Agence France Presse, 7 January 1994

[62] Agence France Presse, 10 March 1994

[63] Agence France Presse, 12 March 1994

[64] Agence France Presse, 28 March 1994

[65] BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 1 April 1994

[66] West Africa, 'ULIMO Fighters Disarm', 28 March 1994

[67] Agence France Presse, 10 and 11 May 1994

[68] Agence France Presse, 27 May 1994

[69] Agence France Presse, 27 June 1994

[70] BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 17 September 1994; West Africa, 'A Surprise "Coup"', 19 September 1994, and 'The Coup that Went Badly Wrong', 26 September 1994

[71] United Nations, 'Seventh Progress Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia', S/1994/1167, 14 October 1994

[72] Agence France Presse, 11 October 1993

[73] West Africa, 'Taylor's NPFL in Disarray', 5 September 1994

[74] West Africa, 'Liberia: Turning the Tables', 1 August 1994

[75] West Africa, 'Taylor's NPFL in Disarray', 5 September 1994

[76] Guardian, 'Liberian Rebels Say Taylor has Fled HQ', 8 September 1994; Independent, 'Factions Carve up Liberia and Restart Fighting', 16 September 1994

[77] BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 17 September 1994

[78] United Nations, 'Seventh Progress Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia', S/1994/1167, 14 October 1994

[79] Africa Watch, Liberia: Waging War to Keep the Peace: The ECOMOG Intervention and Human Rights, June 1993

[80] New African, 'Conspiracy of Silence?' and 'Nigeria to Blame', May 1993

[81] Africa Watch, Liberia: Waging War to Keep the Peace: The ECOMOG Intervention and Human Rights, June 1993

[82] Ibid.

[83] International Human Rights Internship Program and Swedish NGO Foundation for Human Rights, The Status of Human Rights Organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1994

[84] Africa Watch, Liberia: Waging War to Keep the Peace: The ECOMOG Intervention and Human Rights, June 1993

[85] BBC Network Africa, 11 November 1992

[86] Africa Watch, Liberia: Waging War to Keep the Peace: The ECOMOG Intervention and Human Rights, June 1993; Guardian, 'Defiant Taylor "Will not Surrender"', 27 March 1993

[87] Reuters, 19 April 1993

[88] Africa Watch, Liberia: Waging War to Keep the Peace: The ECOMOG Intervention and Human Rights, June 1993;

[89] Guardian, 'W African Peacemakers Take Offensive as Impartiality Remains in Doubt', 29 May 1993

[90] BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 21 September 1994

[91] United Nations, 'Seventh Progress Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia', S/1994/1167, 14 October 1994

[92] United Nations. Secretary-General, Speech to Heads of State and Government, OAU Summit, Cairo, 28 June 1993, UN Press Release SG/SM/5029

[93] Eric Avebury, 'Liberia: the role of the United Nations', Royal African Society, 28 September 1993

[94] United Nations Security Council, 'Report of the Secretary-General on the Question of Liberia', 12 March 1993, S/25402; Africa Events, 'UN-level Playing Field', April 1993

[95] Avebury, op. cit.; Independent, 'Liberian Lives at Risk as UN Blocks Food Aid', 2 September 1993

[96] Ibid.

[97] Independent, 'Factions Carve up Liberia and Restart Fighting', 16 September 1994; Agence France Presse, 19 September 1994

[98] United Nations, 'Results of an Investigation by the Panel of Inquiry Appointed by the Secretary General into the Massacre near Harbel, Liberia, on the Night of June 5/6, 1993', New York, 10 September 1993

[99] Africa Confidential, 'Liberia: Problematic Peacekeeping', 4 March 1994

[100] United Nations, 'Seventh Progress Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia', S/1994/1167, 14 October 1994

[101] West Africa, 'Liberia: Old Issues, New Problems', 26 September 1994

[102] Ibid.

[103] United Nations, 'Seventh Progress Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia', S/1994/1167, 14 October 1994

[104] United States Committee for Refugees, op. cit.

[105] Harold D. Nelson (ed), Liberia: A Country Study, Area Handbook Series (Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1984), p. 92

[106] Ibid., citing data from 1974 census.

[107] Berkeley, op. cit.

[108] Ibid.; Human Rights Watch, 'Liberia: Human Rights Abuses by the Liberian Peace Council and the Need for International Oversight', 17 May 1994

[109] Berkeley, op. cit.

[110] Africa Watch, Liberia: Flight from Terror, April 1990; 'Liberia: A Human Rights Disaster', 26 October 1990

[111] Berkeley, op. cit.

[112] Guardian, 'Liberians "Out of Reach" of Aid', 6 October 1994

[113] Berkeley, op. cit.

[114] United Nations, 'Seventh Progress Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia', S/1994/1167, 14 October 1994

[115] Africa Events, 'War Tears up Liberation', November 1993; West Africa, 'The Firestone Factor', 5 April 1993; Marchés Tropicaux et Méditérranées, 'La Compagnie américaine Firestone accusée d'aider l'NPFL', 19 March 1993

[116] West Africa, 'Liberia: The Abidjan Factor', 8 March 1993

[117] Africa Events, 'War Tears up Liberation', November 1993

[118] Grete Krarup, 'The Heart Men', Ethiopien, 8, 1983, p. 5; Olav Schmidt, 'Statement [to the Danish Refugee Appeals Board] Concerning Ritual Killings and Human Sacrifices in Liberia', December 1992; Denmark. Refugee Appeals Board, Case number 1992-21-3819, Decision of 10 March 1993

[119] Schmidt, op. cit.

[120] Denmark. Refugee Appeals Board, op. cit.; Human Rights Watch, Easy Prey: Child Soldiers in Liberia, September 1994, p. 4

[121] Africa Report, 'The Child Soldiers', July-August 1994

[122] Human Rights Watch, op. cit.

[123] Ibid.; Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, 'Our Forgotten Family: Liberians: The Plight of Refugees and the Displaced', 1991

[124] Ibid.

[125] Africa Report, July-August 1994

[126] Shana Swiss, Liberia: Anguish in a Divided Land, Physicians for Human Rights, May 1992

[127] Ibid.

[128] Independent, 'Factions Carve up Liberia and Restart Fighting', 16 September 1994

[129] Berkeley, op. cit.

[130] West Africa, 'Liberia: The Abidjan Factor', 8 March 1993

[131] Author's interviews with Liberian refugees, Tai, Côte d'Ivoire, November 1993

[132] La Voie, 'Faces aux menaces de l'ULIMO, les inquiétudes des populations frontalières', September 1992

[133] La Voie, 'Une grave accusation contre nos policiers', 19 September 1993

[134] Bonsoir, 'Danané, otage des réfugiés libériens', 12 October 1993

[135] West Africa, 'The Relief Game', 17 May 1993

[136] Author's interviews in Côte d'Ivoire, November 1993

[137] Inter Press Service, 10 August 1994

[138] Agence France Presse, 6 October 1994

[139] Agence France Presse, 29 September 1994; BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 4 October 1994

[140] West Africa, 'The Firestone Factor', 5 April 1993; Marchés Tropicaux et Méditérranées, 'La compagnie américaine Firestone accusée d'aider l'NPFL', 19 March 1993

[141] Avebury, op. cit.

[142] See section 8.1 above and Africa Watch, Liberia: Waging War to Keep the Peace: The ECOMOG Intervention and Human Rights, June 1993

[143] Africa Report, 'Liberia: Targeting Taylor', July-August 1993

[144] Africa Confidential, 'Liberia: Wild Cards in the Pack', 22 November 1991

[145] UNHCR, 'Liberia Fact Sheet', 6 October 1993

[146] Agence France Presse, 23 September 1993; BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 27 September 1993

[147] Agence France Presse, 2 July 1993

[148] New African, September 1994

[149] United Nations, 'Seventh Progress Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia', S/1994/1167, 14 October 1994

[150] Washington Post, 'African Dictators Embark on Democratic Mission', 10 August 1990

[151] Amnesty International, 'Liberia: Risk of Human Rights Violations as Conflict Increases', AI Index: AFR 34/WU 02/92, 25 November 1992; Africa Watch, Liberia: Waging War to Keep the Peace: The ECOMOG Intervention and Human Rights, June 1993

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