Thursday, August 07, 2003

US mercenaries offer to arrest Charles Taylor

The FBI and UK Customs are investigating Northbridge Services Group, a private military company, about their plans to arrest Liberia's Taylor and take him to the war crimes court in Sierra Leone.

This kind of involvement would violate the UN arms embargo against Liberia.

For several months, Northbridge has been trying to get the UN-backed special court in Sierra Leone to fund the planned operation to arrest Mr Taylor, who has been charged with war crimes. The court said it was open to the Northbridge operation, but that it had no funds and privately suggested the US might be willing to pay for it.

As fighting intensified, Northbridge made a further offer to deploy up to 2,000 men to "enforce" peace in Liberia ahead of the arrival of a UN peacekeeping force. That is an offer that the Liberian rebels have been keen to take up, envisaging an operation that would involve the arrest of Mr Taylor.

....Northbridge was originally going to offer services to the government of Mr Taylor but was later persuaded to change sides.