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Charles Taylor Escapes!

_39388539_taylor300Alex Harrowell of The Yorkshire Ranter just emailed me:

Looks like Charles Taylor's done flew the coop and done a runner from Nigeria to escape extradition to the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone.

And on his blog, Alex writes:

Liberian ex-dictator, war criminal and utter bastard Charles Taylor has done a runner from his Nigerian exile to avoid extradition to the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone, says the Nigerian government. Taylor has been living in comfortable exile in Calabar, Nigeria since an unairworthy Boeing 727 belonging to Ali Kleilat rescued him from his overthrow in 2004. Last week, Liberia's new president Ellen Johnston-Sirleaf issued a request for his extradition.

According to the Nigerian government, he's levanted. 5 security officers have been arrested as a pathetic sop to world opinion. This is bad news. Taylor was responsible for destabilising the whole of West Africa, reintroducing slavery to work his diamond mines, recruiting 10 year old kids into his army, hacking people's limbs off as a form of revolutionary terror, and more.

I am insanely disappointed by this news and the obvious Nigerian army partisanship (they are widely thought to have been complicit in his rise to power) that let the bugger get away.

Press reports last week said that Taylor had been summoned to the Nigerian capital Abuja on board an aircraft registered 5N-FGO. This plane is a Dassault Falcon 900 business jet belonging to the Nigerian Government, with "Federal Republic of Nigeria" titles on the fuselage.

Soj at Flogging the Simian writes:

Interesting. I wonder who composed the "security people" who were watching Taylor. I should mention that he was never in a prison or something, just a very expensive home that Nigerian police were supposed to be monitoring.

Here's the story from Reuters:

Charles Taylor said to have disappeared
Tue Mar 28, 2006 1:20 PM GMT

ABUJA (Reuters) - Former Liberian President Charles Taylor, wanted for war crimes by a court in Sierra Leone, has disappeared from his residence in southeastern Nigeria, the presidency said on Tuesday.

A statement said Nigeria would investigate whether Taylor had escaped or been abducted. President Olusegun Obasanjo has ordered the arrest of all security staff attached to Taylor, who has lived in exile in Nigeria since 2003.

From the Mail & Guardian yesterday:

As one of Charles Taylor’s closest advisers warns of “bloodshed and chaos” if the former Liberian president is extradited, analysts say the international community must act quickly to prevent his supporters from re-arming.

Taylor, currently in exile in Nigeria, faces 17 counts of crimes against humanity brought by an internationally backed special court in Sierra Leone.