Will Pat Robertson’s favorite strong-armed dictator finally face justice in Liberia? Looks like it…
A plane carrying exiled former Liberian president and war crimes suspect Charles Taylor has arrived in his home country from Nigeria.
He was put on a UN helicopter expected to be heading to Sierra Leone, where he is wanted by the war crimes tribunal for his alleged role in the civil war.
He was extradited from Nigeria after he was caught trying to escape custody – ending his exile of nearly three years.
Nigeria has denied it was negligent in the way it handled Mr Taylor.
The former leader faces 17 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity over his alleged role in the brutal civil war in Sierra Leone, where he is accused of backing rebels notorious for mutilating civilians.
The tribunal’s top prosecutor Desmond de Silva told the BBC he was delighted he had been arrested.
Tribunal officials say extra troops are due to arrive in Sierra Leone to reinforce security at the UN-backed court – where a cell is waiting for him, reports the BBC’s Mark Doyle in Freetown.
Mr Taylor had been in exile in Nigeria since 2003 after a deal ending Liberia’s civil war.
He went missing on Monday from his southern villa after the country announced Liberia was free to detain him.
Mr Taylor was detained earlier by security forces in the town of Gamboru-Ngala, close to the Cameroon border in the north-eastern Nigerian state of Borno.
The former Liberian leader had arrived at the frontier in a Range Rover jeep with diplomatic corps number plates, a trader working at the Gamboru-Ngala border post told AFP news agency.
“He was wearing a white flowing robe,” said Babagana Alhaji Kata.
“He passed through immigration but when he reached customs they were suspicious and they insisted on searching the jeep, where they found a large amount of US dollars.
“After a further search they discovered he was Charles Taylor.”
Nigeria has arrested Mr Taylor’s Nigerian guards and has launched an investigation.
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I can hardly wait to hear what Hugo Chavez says about this. And you know he should have plenty to say–about not only Taylor, but Efrain Rios Montt as well.UPDATE: Taylor has just been handed over to war-crimes court in Sierra Leone. Things are gettin’ mighty interesting all of a sudden!