Liberia’s government on Wednesday welcomed the lifting of UN sanctions against 17 Liberians who were part of former warlord-turned-president Charles Taylor’s regime.
“The lifting of the travel ban is welcome news for the government ofLiberia,” Foreign Minister Augustine Naguafan said speaking on national radio shortly before the announcement was made by the UN inNew York.
The decision by the Security Council’sLiberiasanctions committee was announced in a brief statement that gave the names but no reasons for the move.
The asset freezes and travel bans were imposed over a period of years from2001 ina bid to contain Taylor who is serving a 50-year jail term for war crimes inSierra Leone’s civil war.
While the list once contained some 55 names of former officials and military commanders, the sanctions were lifted against many of these over the years until only 17 names remained.
The 17 include Taylor’s ex-wives Agnes Reeves Taylor and Jewel Howard Taylor, who divorced the war criminal in 2006 and is now a senator. Both women had travel bans and asset freezes lifted.
The list also includes former ministers and otherTaylorassociates who have since rebuilt political careers in the West African country.
Adolphus Dolo, who is now a senator inLiberia, was a keyTaylormilitary ally who used the alias General Peanut Butter, according to UN documents. He had a travel ban lifted.
Former minister Reginal Goodridge andTaylor’s former economic advisor, Emmanuel Shaw, who was accused of organising arms deliveries, had a travel ban and assets freeze lifted. John Richardson, a former security advisor, also had a travel ban removed.
Restrictions were also lifted against Belle Dunbar, George Dweh, Edwin Snowe, Tupee Taylor, Myrtle Francelle Gibson, Martin George, Cyril Allen, Randolph Cooper and Victoria Refell. Sampson Gwen and Maurice Cooper were taken off the list because they have died.
“We are very happy to hear that news. We have been waiting for this for so long. Now we can go out there and lobby for the uplifting of our country,” said Edwin Snowe, now a lawmaker.
All are former allies and associates ofTaylor, who sparked a 13-year civil war when he led a rebellion in 1989 to oust President Samuel Doe which deteriorated into one ofAfrica’s bloodiest conflicts.
His National Patriotic Front of Liberia earned a reputation for extreme violence, conscripting child soldiers and terrorising citizens of certain ethnic groups.