Liberian Political Group Condemns Taylor for Sierra Leone Conflict

A new Liberian political group has condemned the Liberian Government for its involvement in the Sierra Leone conflict, calling on it to declare all members of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) persona non-grata.

In a press release aired on the BBC, the New Deal Movement, which encountered problems last year in registering as a political party, said the Government's role in Sierra Leone continues to tarnish the country image, transforming it into a pariah state. The group said President Taylor, who trained with Sierra Leone detained rebel leader Foday Sankoh in Libya, should take no credit for his role in the release of 500 UN peacekeepers because, it added, they should not have been taken hostage in the first place. The group therefore called on President Charles Taylor to sever all ties to the RUF, adding that a democratically elected government should not be in the business of undermining other states and backing rebels.

Earlier this month during a Talk Show on one of the few remaining private stations in the country, a cross section of callers urged the UN not to lift the arms embargo imposed on Liberia despite the decision of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to lobby for its lifting. Dozens of callers warned the UN that to lift the embargo would be to endorse more hostage taking and instability in the sub region.

Meanwhile, the Sierra Leone Embassy in Washington, DC. has repeated accusations against President Taylor of backing the Sierra Leone conflict which has taken over 70,000 lives and left thousands more people, many of them children, with amputated limbs.

In a press release, the Embassy noted that, "The war in Sierra is not a civil war at all. The war is a carefully orchestrated war of aggression by President Taylor against the people of Sierra Leone and their democratically elected government, camouflaged as a civil war. Taylor disguises his aggression against Sierra Leone by fighting under the banner of his surrogates, Sankoh and the RUF. Taylor benefits from disguising his aggression because no one would point finger at him and because his surrogates would have a colorable claim to argue for non-interference while they get more aid from Taylor.

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