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Nigeria says to transfer Charles Taylor to Liberia

Written by: Staff
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LAGOS, Mar 25 (Reuters) Nigeria will transfer former Liberian president Charles Taylor, who is living in exile in Nigeria and has been indicted for war crimes, to Liberian custody, the Nigerian government said today.

It issued a statement headed ''Former president Charles Taylor to be transferred to the custody of the government of Liberia'', which read: ''President Olusegun Obasanjo has today ... informed President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf that the government of Liberia is free to take former President Charles Taylor into its custody.'' Taylor agreed to go into exile in Nigeria in 2003 as part of a peace deal to end 14 years of civil war in Liberia.

The government statement said Nigeria had resisted persistent pressures to deliver Taylor to a special UN-backed war crimes court in Sierra Leone, as that would have violated the agreement under which Taylor stepped down.

The Sierra Leone court has indicted Taylor for war crimes and wants to try him for his role in fuelling that country's brutal civil war.

''The federal government has insisted that Charles Taylor can only be turned over, on request, to a democratically-elected government of Liberia at a time that such a government considers appropriate,'' the statement said.

''The request of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in her letter of March 5 constituted her determination that the time was opportune.'' Reuters SHR BD2053

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