Continuing his evidence at the Special Court held in The Hague, The Netherlands Charles Taylor
yesterday said the ECOMOG troops which were mainly composed of Nigerians sponsored the Kamajors that were trained in Liberia.
Charles Taylor further testified that because of constant pressure from the international community and as peace in Liberia at that time was fragile he decided to confront General Sani Abacha who was then president of Nigeria to discontinue the training in Liberia.
He also disclosed that the other reason for him to stop the training of the Kamajors in Liberia was that the whole process causes instability and the country does not get aid.
Mr. Taylor denied allegations that he supplied the AFRC/RUF with arms and ammunition from Liberia, and added that Liberia did not even have any arms and ammunition for its own armed forces.
He said that “everybody in West Africa and the United Nations knows that Liberia was disarmed and all arms were under lock and key. Security of Liberia was being handled by ECOMOG.
In his evidence the witness further stated that upon his appointment as head of the Committee of ECOWAS, he regularly communicated and held meetings with members the RUF but all these contacts were done with the consent and participation of ECOWAS and the United Nations.
The witness said “subsequent to my appointment on the Committee of Five, I spoke with the RUF many times. I held meetings with them with the knowledge, consent and acquiescence of ECOWAS.
The United Nations knew because for most of my discussions with the RUF, I spoke with Kofi Annan directly or through his Special Representative in Liberia. Everything I did in Sierra Leone was done with the knowledge and consent of ECOWAS and I have documentary evidence to prove that,” Taylor said.
Mr. Taylor told the judges that he was appointed as Chairman of the Committee of Five because ECOWAS leaders believed he was better placed to negotiate with the RUF rebels, having been a rebel himself. He said that he was actively involved in efforts geared towards bringing Sierra Leone’s conflict to a peaceful conclusion.
He told the judges that like other West African leaders, he was part of the decision that foreign governments should not recognize the junta government of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC). For this reason, he said that Liberia did not recognize the AFRC junta regime in Sierra Leone.”
By Betty Milton