BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Somali Swahili French Great Lakes Hausa Portugeuse
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: Africa  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
 Tuesday, 31 December, 2002, 16:31 GMT
Liberia denies al-Qaeda link
Liberia troops
Liberia recently lifted a state of emergency

Liberia has rejected allegations that it helped members of Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda movement operate an illegal diamond trade in the country.

A Washington Post article on Monday said an investigation into al-Qaeda financing had uncovered evidence that the governments of Liberia and Burkina Faso had hosted two senior al-Qaeda operatives on a $20m diamond-buying spree.

Liberia has long denied accusations that it has been profiting from the smuggling of "blood diamonds" from neighbouring Sierra Leone, and sanctions were imposed on the country in 2001.

But a statement in Tuesday's edition of the government-owned New Liberia newspaper said the Washington Post reporter was "an enemy" of the Liberian Government and was seeking to smear Liberia's image.

"Liberia is above the stage of collaborating with terrorists," the statement said, adding that its war against Lurd rebels meant it was fighting terrorism itself.

Demonising

The government said diamond-smuggling and gun-running allegations against Liberia were not new.

President of Liberia Charles Taylor
Taylor faces sanctions and security problems
"These blatant acts of demonisation constitute a continuation of an international conspiracy against Liberia," the statement said.

According to the Post, the investigators, who came from several countries, concluded that President Charles Taylor had arranged to harbour the operatives for at least two months after the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington in 2001.

The report quotes investigators as saying that the two operatives moved between a protected area in Liberia and neighbouring Burkina Faso.

It adds that a group of people buying diamonds on their behalf were also simultaneously attempting to procure sophisticated weapons, such as anti-aircraft missiles.

Sanctions

The latest row came as President Charles Taylor called on Liberians to demonstrate against America's policy towards Monrovia.

President Taylor told supporters of his ruling party that the United States had championed the strangulation of the Liberian Government and people through its foreign policy.

He said the war with Lurd rebels could soon be over if the US Government would condemn the insurgency and ask the government of Guinea to stop supporting the rebels.

The United States embassy here has not yet reacted to the president's comments.

News, analysis and background from Liberia's conflict and escalating refugee crisis

Key issues

Country profiles

Timeline

TALKING POINT

CLICKABLE GUIDE
See also:

13 Dec 02 | Africa
14 Sep 02 | Africa
19 Nov 02 | Africa
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes