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Last Updated: Friday, 5 December, 2003, 10:26 GMT
Nigeria rules out Taylor arrest
Charles Taylor
Charles Taylor is in exile in Nigeria
Nigeria has said it will not detain former Liberian President Charles Taylor despite a new Interpol warrant issued on Thursday.

Mr Taylor, wanted for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity, is currently in exile in Nigeria.

He went there in August as part of a peace deal to end Liberia's civil war.

A spokeswoman for Nigeria's president told the BBC that Mr Taylor would only be handed over if Liberia's new government made a formal request.

Remi Oyo told the BBC's World Today programme that Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo had been given the go-ahead by leaders in both Africa and the West before giving Mr Taylor asylum "so that bloodshed could be averted".

"This is not an Interpol affair. President Olusegun Obasanjo believes this is a political affair," she said.

Ms Oyo urged the international community to instead help Liberia rebuild and establish a democratically elected government.

A power-sharing government is now in place in Monrovia and some 40,000 fighters are due to start disarming next week.


Interpol's "red notice" is not an arrest warrant but national police can use it to make a provisional arrest.

The notice was posted on Interpol's website with a photo of Mr Taylor in a suit and a warning that he "may be dangerous".

Sierra Leone amputee
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Try those most to blame for war crimes
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The court is seeking to try him on charges that he armed and trained Sierra Leone's rebels who waged a campaign of rape and dismemberment during the country's civil war.

As a former warlord, he was also involved in the bloodshed in his own country.

Mr Taylor was indicted while he was still Liberia's president.

In New York, the United Nations Security Council extended economic sanctions on Liberia despite Mr Taylor's departure.

However, a statement said they would have to be reworked and eventually lifted.

The BBC's Donna Larsen
"Charles Taylor was reluctant to leave Liberia"

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