Charles Taylor Pays Gadaffi for War Efforts

Liberia is making periodic payments from a monitored bank account to Libya for that country's financing of Charles Taylor's National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) war that led to the killing of 250,000 people and the destruction of most economic entities, the British newspaper The Financial Times reports.

"A western intelligence official said Liberian bank accounts under observation showed payments from Liberia to Libya", The Financial Times revealed this week

Few months ago, Mr Taylor demanded $26 million from state coffers as debt incurred by his rebel group, one of the most ruthless in Africa, for its war expenses.

Meanwhile, the Liberian President remains adamant in controlling Sierra Leone's diamonds fields since all foreign exchange entities, such as iron ore and rubber companies were looted or destroyed by his forces during the war.

"One explanation for Taylor's determination to control Sierra Leone's diamond trade could be his need to pay for arms bought from Libya. In 1989, with the support of Muammar Gadaffi, Libyan leader, Taylor unleashed a civil war in Liberia that culminated in his election as president in 1997".

The link between Sierra Leone's ruthless now detained rebel leader Foday Sankoh and the Liberian president, which dates back to their training years in Libya as rebels and Sankoh's active participation in the Liberian war as a precondition for launching his own, has led to persistent calls by Taylor for immediate peace. "Taylor is an integral part of the RUF," said a western intelligence official. "There is no interest in stability in Sierra Leone," The Financial Times quotes one Western intelligence official. It adds that:

"Two school exercise books emblazoned with the slogan "Peace. God bless the teacher" were recovered from Mr Sankoh's villa in Freetown, the Sierra Leone capital, and obtained by the Financial Times. They record the scale of the RUF operation in the diamond pits at Kono, one of many controlled by the rebels.

The book entry shows that 220 diamonds worth about Dollars 2.5m locally were mined in a single day on 9 January 1999 at Kono. Between October 30 1998 and January 1 2000, the RUF sold 10,137 Kono diamonds through the murky channels of the world's illicit diamond market.

Government officials in Freetown think the documents prove a long-held suspicion that Sankoh's rebels sold illicit gems to buy guns - and that they were helped by neighboring Liberia whose ruler, Charles Taylor, is a longstanding supporter of the RUF.

They are part of a global network extending from the desert air strips of the United Arab Emirates to the armaments factories of Bulgaria and Ukraine; from the presidential palaces of Liberia, Burkina Faso and Togo to the offices of diamond dealers in Antwerp, Bombay, Monrovia, Johannesburg and Tel Aviv".

Liberia itself remains without water, electricity and basic social services despite Taylor's electoral promises of "I spoilt, I'll fix it." Schools remain in shambles, and students find themselves sitting on floors, taught by unpaid and unqualified teachers. At the state only university, students are compelled to carry wooden benches and many of the pre-war professors and lecturers have left. Civil servants have not been paid for months. Only the elite presidential bodyguards, the Anti-Terrorist Unit, frequently deployed at diplomatic quarters for intimidation purposes, receive regular pay. Large parts of the country are isolated due to impassable roads that have not been maintained for years.

Liberia's Information Minister has however blamed Washington for the current state of affairs, saying that if American wants Liberia to have water and electricity, only "a push of the button" will provide the facilities. Taylor himself owns large and luxurious villas in France and Italy, and rides fleets of luxurious vehicles, including Rolls Royces and armored-plated Mercedes, according to Western reports.

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