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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 March 2006, 10:36 GMT 11:36 UK
Liberia press relief over Taylor capture
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor is escorted to jail in Sierra Leone
Taylor will face the war crimes tribunal in Sierra Leone

Newspapers in Liberia heave a sigh of relief over the capture and transfer to Sierra Leone of former President Charles Taylor.

Commentators compare him to Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic and brand him a coward. They believe he did untold damage to the country and the region at large, but feel bringing him to justice could help Liberia move towards a brighter future.

Recently-installed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is praised for her handling of the situation, with one commentator saying she has lived up to her "iron lady" nickname. There is also a plea for the case against Mr Taylor to proceed calmly, less it inflame national passions.

Rodney D Sieh in Liberian Times

Taylor's capture ended 24 hours of panic and fear by Liberians and Africans alike all too familiar to the crimes of Taylor. The world stands by for the next chapter in a seemingly unending saga. Many were beginning to fear that his flight would lead to the planning of another civil war... The west African sub-region is in disarray because of him, Africa endured numerous refugee crises due to the effects of his war. But in the end he was captured in the same fashion he rose to fame, a prisoner, an escapee, caught just like the world has come to know him as a common criminal trying to evade justice yet again.

Sam K Zinnah in FrontPageAfrica

Recently, a vacancy was created in the Hague, the Netherlands, by Slobodan Milosevic who was pronounced dead in his reward cell. This vacancy serves as a strong signal for Charles Taylor who many believe is the next person in queue for Milosevic's vacant room. The indescribable regime of Charles Taylor glows like nebular waste. The only difference between Charles Taylor and Adolph Hitler is the target.

John Sembe Morlu in FrontPageAfrica

Charles Ghankay McCarthy Boye Dakphanna Taylor, the small man with many names and a set of inward teeth like a boa-constrictor, is the last of the world's most notorious criminal trios. His partners in crimes against humanity are Iraq's Saddam Hussein and the late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic... President Sirleaf's leadership on the Taylor's question is impeccable... It is time that Liberians rally around her as she handles the difficult issue of nation-building while at the same time dealing with this cantankerous, destabilizing side-show that has haunted Liberia for over 14 years... The international community, especially the able members of the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States have hedged on the Taylor's issue to a potential detriment of the peace they have worked so hard to build in Liberia. In a nutshell, all these 'strongman' chicken out, leaving a lone woman president to deal with the issue... She has risen to the occasion to show to the world that she can in fact be an 'iron lady'.

The Taylor issue is going to hurt Liberia in so many ways... and could create a destabilizing effect that transcends national borders to expend the tenuous security within the sub-region... The Taylor issue has also put at a greater risk the president of Liberia and her cabinet... It is only fair that the international partners do more to strengthen the security apparatus of the nation.

Abdoulaye W Dukule in Perspective

Mr Taylor can consider himself a lucky man to be called to face a war crimes tribunal led by the UN and Sierra Leone rather to answer to crimes he perpetuated against his own people in Liberia. He may have to face that tribunal too, some day... President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf took a big security gamble by asking Nigeria to 'allow' Mr Taylor to face the tribunal in Sierra Leone. Mr Taylor still has a big following in Liberia... [But] keeping Mr Taylor in his sinecure of Calabar would have also meant keeping a Damocles sword over Liberia... Sending him to face the court is, by all accounts, the lesser of two evils. It is the safest risk to take, in closing the chapter of the war.

Liberians must come to terms with the fact that this is the end of the Taylor saga and that for the first time in 15 years they can put this name in a wastebasket and move on. Parents must not allow their children to be used as cannon fodders against innocent people again. No matter what comes out of Freetown, Mr Taylor would fade in oblivion and those who want to tie their future to his fate would learn that Liberia is on its way to a new era, without them. Dealing with the Taylor issue is probably the first great test of national reconciliation. Can Liberians start to look at each other as friends, neighbors and compatriots without interposing the shadow of Mr Taylor between them?

Commentary in Daily Observer

Majority of the people of Liberia today are standing between a rock and a hard place on the Taylor issue. A rock because there is a group calling for the pardon of Mr Taylor and another group which feels that Taylor should have his day in court since he has been accused.

Editorial in The News

Taylor's issue should be handled soberly and not with anger. If reports of looming tension among the loyalists of Taylor are true, then calm should be the second thought of those involved. Liberia is the only country that we have, therefore we should preserve it from chaos and unnecessary conflict. The government should observe the situation keenly so as not to inflame tension that is already said to be brewing. The issue of Taylor should be handled with caution and utmost care.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.




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