Last year, international justice finally caught up with Charles Taylor, one of Africa’s most feared warlords. He was deported by Nigeria where he had been granted asylum. Back in 1989, Taylor launched a rebellion in Liberia, triggering a bloody civil war in which child soldiers were recruited. When the conflict ended seven years later, 200,000 lives had been lost.
In 1997, Taylor won elections to become Liberia’s President. It is over the civil war in neighbouring Sierra Leone that he finds himself in the dock. He is accused of supporting and directing rebels there as they waged a campaign of terror against civilians.
The country saw the hacking off of limbs among other atrocities. With both his hands missing, it is something the president of the civil war victims’ association knows all about. “Charles Taylor is the blame worker behind all that happened in Sierra Leone,” said Afhaji Jufm Jarka.
In 2006, Sierra Leone was ranked the world’s second poorest country.