Rebel leader claims US-backed force plans to invade Liberia




Mark Huband in Abidjan and agencies in Monrovia

The Guardian, 4 September 1991

Liberia’s rebel leader Charles Taylor, claimed yesterday that an army of 5,000 supporters of the murdered President Samuei Doe, which has received assistance from the United States, is planning to attack him from neighbouring Sierra Leone.

Mr Taylor, leader of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), which controls 90 per cent of the war-torn country, said the US government had informed his representative in Washington that an invasion of rebel-held territory was expected to be launched within the next six weeks.

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Taylor said the invasion would be repelled by his rebel forces, who intend to send troops to the border area between the two countries.

“We predict that there are between 3,000 to 5,000 men planning to invade us … It’s not just Charles Taylor saying it. The United States government has been saying it, and they are training the Sierra Leonean armed forces, they are supplying arms and ammunition to      the government of Sierra Leone that are being given to elements that we have defeated in this country, for them to come in and kill more Liberians,” Mr Taylor said.”

A force of anti-Taylor Liberians has been fighting alongside the Sierra Leonean army in an effort to repel an invasion of eastern Sierra Leone launched by Mr Taylor and dissident Sierra Leoneans in March.

A second plan to attack Mr Taylor is also being planned by former colleagues of Doe, including members of his family, sources in the Guinean capital, Conakry, claim. The Guinea-based plan is believed to involve members of Doe’s Krahn tribe, under threat of extinction since Mr Taylor’s forces launched an invasion of their homeland in eastern Liberia earlier this year.

Meanwhile, the NPFL has executed one of its leader’s top aides and an unknown number of junior commandos accused of plotting to assassinate Mr Taylor, according to reports from behind rebel lines. Executions are not uncommon in Liberia, but the reports indicated an upheaval in the NPFL.


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