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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 December, 2003, 08:38 GMT
Military firm seeks Taylor bounty
Charles Taylor
Liberia's former leader lives in exile in Nigeria
A private UK-based military firm says it is looking for an investor to fund an operation to seize indicted former Liberian President Charles Taylor.

Mr Taylor, who has been granted asylum in Nigeria, is wanted by the UN-backed court on war crimes charges.

Northbridge Services Group says it has people ready to kidnap Mr Taylor to claim a $2m reward allegedly offered by the United States Congress.

Washington has said it opposes any violent action to seize Mr Taylor.

We have everything in place... we can execute this and bring Mr Taylor before the tribunal
Pasquale Dipofi, Northbridge Services Group

"Any potential investors that are interested in going in together in this operation, we would be willing to split the profits," Northbridge Services Group's director Pasquale Dipofi told the BBC's World Today programme.

"I feel that we can execute this operation gracefully and quite skilfully. I don't believe that there will be any combat required, and I don't believe that there would be any casualties involved," Mr Dipofi said.

He hinted that the company already had its agents in Nigeria ready for the swoop, but refused to elaborate for reasons of "operational security".

"I think we can execute this and bring Mr Taylor before the tribunal," Mr Dipofi said, adding that the company has done similar operations in the past.

He said such an operation would be legitimate because Mr Taylor had been indicted by the United Nations-backed war crimes court in Sierra Leone and a warrant for his arrest had been issued by the Interpol.

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.

'State-sponsored terrorism'

In November, US President George W Bush signed a bill to provide funds totalling $87.5bn for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But a small part of that budget referred to the provision of $2m reward money for the capture of what it described as an indictee of the Sierra Leone war crimes tribunal - a clear reference to Mr Taylor.

Last month, Nigeria said the offer, assumed to be for Mr Taylor's detention, verged on state-sponsored terrorism.

A Nigerian presidential spokesman said Abuja would resist any attempt to capture Mr Taylor, adding that Liberia's ex-leader was under the protection of the Nigerian Government.

The US says the money could be "an additional tool" if the need arises.

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31 Oct 03  |  Africa
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17 Jan 02  |  Africa
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10 Oct 03  |  Africa
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17 Sep 03  |  Africa
Nigeria defends Taylor exile
12 Aug 03  |  Africa


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