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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 March 2006, 17:20 GMT 18:20 UK
Ex-leader extradited to Liberia
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor
Charles Taylor arrived in Nigeria in 2003 under a peace deal
A plane carrying exiled former Liberian president and war crimes suspect Charles Taylor has arrived in his home country from Nigeria.

He was put on a UN helicopter expected to be heading to Sierra Leone, where he is wanted by the war crimes tribunal for his alleged role in the civil war.

He was extradited from Nigeria after he was caught trying to escape custody - ending his exile of nearly three years.

Nigeria has denied it was negligent in the way it handled Mr Taylor.

The former leader faces 17 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity over his alleged role in the brutal civil war in Sierra Leone, where he is accused of backing rebels notorious for mutilating civilians.

Go to the court, [Mr Taylor,] and defend yourself as a man
Momolu, Monrovia

The tribunal's top prosecutor Desmond de Silva told the BBC he was delighted he had been arrested.

Tribunal officials say extra troops are due to arrive in Sierra Leone to reinforce security at the UN-backed court - where a cell is waiting for him, reports the BBC's Mark Doyle in Freetown.

Border check

Mr Taylor had been in exile in Nigeria since 2003 after a deal ending Liberia's civil war.

He went missing on Monday from his southern villa after the country announced Liberia was free to detain him.

1997: Elected Liberian president after leading rebellion
1991-2002: Alleged role in Sierra Leone's civil war
June 2003: Arrest warrant issued by Sierra Leone tribunal
August 2003: Begins exile in Nigeria after civil war at home
March 2006: Detained by Nigeria while fleeing

Mr Taylor was detained earlier by security forces in the town of Gamboru-Ngala, close to the Cameroon border in the north-eastern Nigerian state of Borno.

The former Liberian leader had arrived at the frontier in a Range Rover jeep with diplomatic corps number plates, a trader working at the Gamboru-Ngala border post told AFP news agency.

"He was wearing a white flowing robe," said Babagana Alhaji Kata.

"He passed through immigration but when he reached customs they were suspicious and they insisted on searching the jeep, where they found a large amount of US dollars.

"After a further search they discovered he was Charles Taylor."

Nigeria has arrested Mr Taylor's Nigerian guards and has launched an investigation.


News of Mr Taylor's capture came just before Mr Obasanjo left for a visit to the US for talks with President George W Bush.

Mr Bush welcomed the capture and said he appreciated Nigeria's work to apprehend him, during their meeting.

For his part, Mr Obasanjo denied Nigeria had been "negligent" in its handling of the suspect, and said earlier he felt "vindicated" by the capture.

Those who had suggested Nigeria may have been complicit in Mr Taylor's initial escape were wrong and owed him an apology, he added.

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