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Thursday, 8 February, 2001, 12:05 GMT
Notorious rebel leaves Liberia
Sierra Leonean fighters on their way to fight the RUF
Liberia has helped prolong the war in Sierra Leone
The Liberian Government says that one of the most notorious Sierra Leonean rebel leaders has now left the country.

The Information Ministry said Sam Bockarie, usually known by his rebel name Mosquito, had gone, and the rebels' liaison office in Liberia had been closed.

Sam Bockarie
Bockarie: reported to be in Ivory Coast
Mosquito was given refuge in Liberia a year ago after clashing with the founder of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels, Foday Sankoh.

Bockarie's departure is seen as part of the Liberian government's attempt to disengage from the Sierra Leonean conflict in order to improve its international image.

Second time

Liberia announced in January that Bockarie had left the country, but retracted the statement after it was unable to find a third country to take him.

Sources at the Liberian immigration bureau have said that Bockarie has gone to neighbouring Ivory Coast.

Liberia currently faces the threat of United Nations sanctions for its involvement in Sierra Leone's civil war.

A UN report says Liberia is taking diamonds mined in rebel-held areas and helping to arm the RUF.

The Liberia government has stressed that it is willing to co-operate with the UN.

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See also:

25 Jan 01 | Africa
UN debates Liberia sanctions
14 Jan 01 | Africa
Leone rebel still in Liberia
23 Jan 01 | Africa
Liberian leader offers to resign
27 Dec 00 | Africa
Sierra Leone: A tumultuous year
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