Taylor Vows to Hunt Down Opponents

The Perspective
January 16, 2001

In the wake of a published list naming 46 Liberians targeted for assassination, President Charles Taylor has vowed to hunt his critics down even if they re-enter their "mothers' wombs".

Mr. Taylor told a gathering of supporters that, "even if you [opponents] in your mother's womb", I will get you. "If you think you can hide, we will show that you cannot hide," the warlord turned President declared.

Taylor blamed the threatened UN sanctions for his near-decade backing of Sierra Leone's rebel Revolutionary Front (RUF) on his exiled opponents, mainly political leaders, journalists and human rights activists, and vowed to hit back wherever they are. Sources said assassins, mainly foreigners including Ukrainians, have been dispatched to Europe and America on the mission. Threatening letters from Monrovia to The Perspective are on the rise.

But in what has become a clear indication of duplicity, Taylor also promised to uphold freedom of speech and of the press. Most independent journalists have left the country and a number of independent media outlets closed down.

"Mr. Taylor is showing to us that he is prepared to continue killing, killing and killing. He must look at himself for the economic troubles. When you loot your own country and truck power plants to other countries for arms, when you arm teenagers with promises of Heaven, when you invaded other countries for their mineral wealth, the rest of the world has an obligation to act. Sanctions are not to be imposed because he is ill-treating his people. They like him. 'You killed my ma , you killed my pa I will vote you'. Remember the song? So let Taylor stop the childish threat and use the diamonds billions to give his people water, light and food", said a priest now living in Vienna.

But Taylor has made similar threats before and implemented them. He threatened opposition leader, Samuel Dokie, that even if he went "into his mother's womb", he would get him. In 1997, presidential bodyguards killed Dokie his wife and two family members. Dozens of prominent African-Liberians have been executed in similar manner during a war that took 250,000 lives.