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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 May, 2005, 09:19 GMT 10:19 UK
Taylor 'behind Guinea coup plot'
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor
Charles Taylor was a flamboyant and controversial figure
Liberia's former leader Charles Taylor was behind January's coup attempt in Guinea, says the chief prosecutor of Sierra Leone's war crimes tribunal.

David Crane, who wants Mr Taylor to face trial for alleged crimes during Sierra's Leone civil war, said the information came from several sources.

Guinea has always feared being caught up in the brutal conflicts which wracked Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Mr Taylor is in exile in Nigeria, which has told him to stay out of politics.


Mr Conte backed the Lurd rebels who ousted Mr Taylor in 2003 and Mr Crane says Mr Taylor was trying to get revenge.

Mr Crane said that according to his "multiple sources" another attempt would be made "soon".


The Human Rights Watch lobby group recently reported that there was an army of young mercenaries for hire in conflicts across West Africa.

Some of those who spoke to HRW said they had been offered money to fight in Guinea.

"From exile, Charles Taylor remains in contact with his political network in Liberia on a day-to-day basis. He has also mobilised his network of warlords and cronies to keep West Africa in turmoil," Mr Crane said.

Mr Crane accuses Mr Taylor of buying weapons for the brutal RUF rebels who fought in Sierra Leone in exchange for diamonds.

Mr Crane is due to step down as chief prosecutor for the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone in July.


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