Liberian Man arrested in London on suspicion of war crimes

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The Metropolitan Police force has arrested a man in London on suspicion of war crimes relating to civil wars in Liberia.

The 45-year-old was detained in south-east London around 7.20am on Thursday and has been taken into custody at a central London police station.

Officers are searching an address in the south-east area and their investigation is ongoing, Scotland Yard said.

He was arrested by officers from the Met Police War Crimes Team on suspicion of war crimes – contrary to section 51 of the International Criminal Court Act.

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Police said it follows an allegation of offences relating to the first and second civil wars in the west African nation between 1989 and 2003.

Up to a quarter of a million people in Liberia were killed during the period, while thousands more were mutilated and raped.

Former Liberian president Charles Taylor is serving 50 years in a British prison after being found guilty by an international tribunal of crimes against humanity.

The Liberian civil war raged from 1989 when Taylor, then a government minister, started an uprising in a bid to topple the government.

Backed by a rebel group, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), he gained control of large areas of the country and rose to become one of Africa’s most prominent warlords.

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The conflict eventually led to the involvement of the UN and the Economic Community of West African States, and a final peace agreement led to the election of Taylor as president of Liberia in 1997. A second civil war broke out in 1999 and Taylor was forced into exile in 2003.

He was later jailed for committing war crimes in neighbouring Sierra Leone.

His ex-wife Agnes Reeves Taylor was charged by British police with torture in 2017, but the case against her was dismissed two years later after a judge said there was a lack of evidence of governmental control at the time of the alleged crimes.

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