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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 August, 2003, 19:08 GMT 20:08 UK
Profile: Moses Blah
By Jonathan Paye-Layleh
BBC, Monrovia

Moses Blah
Blah had served under Taylor for years

If you did not know Moses Blah before, yet wanted to track him down by simply relying on the ambience and glamour that are normally associated with high-profile African political leaders, you would risk disappointment.

This is a very simple man.

He likes to drive himself around, especially when on private business, and at times goes without a single bodyguard.

When Liberian President Charles Taylor lost his Vice President Enoch Dogolea in June 2000, and the public were speculating about who could possibly replace him many people - including myself - did not think of Moses Blah.

Frankly, he was the furthest person from our minds.

His name first came to prominence nearly 14 years ago, when Charles Taylor began the biggest armed insurrection in the country's history in order to unseat the regime of the late Samuel Doe.

Mr Blah was a part of all this.

Senior roles

He was born on April 18, 1947 in Toweh Town, a Gio-speaking hamlet in north-eastern Nimba County, close to the border with the Ivory Coast.

I will never betray President Taylor; he is my revolutionary brother, we have come a long way
Moses Blah
He completed his secondary education at Tappeta Public school in 1967.

His further education included stints in Hamburg, Germany and at a military college in Tajura, Libya, from 1985 to 1989.

At the end of that year, he joined a few hundred exiled Liberians led by Mr Taylor to wage the war against the Doe government.

When Mr Taylor's National Patriotic Front had succeeded in taking control of the whole of Liberia except Monrovia, Mr Blah served in the Front in several capacities, including inspector general, adjutant general and Mr Taylor's special envoy.

Before he was appointed vice president in July 2000, Mr Blah had been Liberia's ambassador to Libya and Tunisia for three years.

'Family man'

A rather unusual friction broke out between Mr Blah and Mr Taylor in June this year, over an allegation that the former had intended to take state power through the influence of the United States embassy here.

It was an allegation which Mr Blah vehemently denied.

President Charles Taylor
1989: Launched rebellion
1997: Won elections
June 2003: Indicted for war crimes
August 2003: Resigned

The drama occurred when Mr Taylor, while addressing the opening of the ongoing Liberian peace talks in Ghana on 4 June, was indicted by the war crimes court in Sierra Leone.

An arrest order was issued and a power vacuum appeared to have been created.

Mr Taylor returned home, Mr Blah was made to resign and then was placed under house arrest, but was later reinstated.

He told me at the time: "Besides not being an ambitious person, I will never betray President Taylor; he is my revolutionary brother. We have come a long way."

A religious and family man, the Baptist vice president is married to Nettie and has many children and grandchildren.

He has travelled widely in Africa, Europe and Asia.

Fluent in German, French and Arabic, his hobbies are sport and photography.


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