Charles Taylor Dismisses ECOMOG Commander’s Allegations As “Nonsense.”

Claims that Charles Taylor secretly smuggled arms and ammunitions into Liberia in 1997 without informing the West African peacekeepers were dismissed as “nonsense” today by the former Liberian president in his trial in The Hague.

During cross-examination, prosecutors had raised allegations of Mr. Taylor’s involvement in arms smuggling in Liberia, pointing to a book written by Nigerian General Victor Malu — the head of West African peacekeeping forces in Liberia during Mr. Taylor’s presidency. In his book, General Malu reportedly claimed that in 1997, Mr. Taylor secretly smuggled arms and ammunition from South Africa through the Free Port of Monrovia without informing Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) peacekeepers.  The former ECOMOG commander said that before his forces were alerted, Mr. Taylor had removed the arms and ammunition from the Free Port. As Mr. Taylor continued his re-examination today, Mr. Taylor dismissed the allegations as nonsense.

“Since ECOMOG arrived in Liberia in 1990, they maintained full control of the Free Port of Monrovia. So to say at this particular time that arms are being brought into the Free Port, the Navy of ECOMOG is based there,” Mr. Taylor told the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

“Even through my presidency, ECOMOG was deployed fully in Monrovia and its environs by this time. So this is total nonsense that someone could have brought a shipload of arms into the Free Port, the Navy of Nigeria is running this port, it’s totally, totally crazy here, it’s not possible.”

Asked whether General Malu had confronted him with intelligence that shiploads of arms and ammunition had been brought to Liberia through the Free Port, Mr. Taylor responded that “never, so help me God, never, Malu never discussed this with me.”

Prosecutors have alleged that even with an ECOMOG presence in Liberia and with the West African country under a United Nations arms embargo, Mr. Taylor smuggled arms and ammunition into the country. These arms, prosecutors say, were then sent to Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in Sierra Leone, a rebel group that Mr. Taylor is alleged to have provided support to during the 11-years conflict in Sierra Leone.

While maintaining that his country did not have arms to supply rebel forces in Sierra Leone, Mr. Taylor has admitted that at some point in his presidency, he secretly bought arms and ammunition solely for the purpose of fighting rebel forces which were threatening to unseat his government in Liberia.

Also in his re-examination today, the former Liberian president dismissed General Malu’s accounts that during Mr. Taylor’s rebel days, he had acquired about 20 armored personnel carriers, four tanks, tons of artillery and anti-aircraft rifles for use in ‘Operation Octopus’ — a 1992 operation by Mr. Taylor’s rebel forces to capture the Liberian capital, Monrovia.

Mr. Taylor maintained that during the entire period of the Liberian conflict, his National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) rebel group never had access to armored personnel carriers, tanks and anti-aircraft rifles. He explained that Operation Octopus was a military operation which was aimed at capturing Monrovia and bringing the Liberian conflict to an end.

Mr. Taylor, who has previously testified that he had several disagreements with General Malu, today told the court that when he was elected as president of Liberia in 1997, he called for the replacement of the Nigerian General. Referring to General Malu as “abrasive” and “rude,” Mr. Taylor added that ECOMOG soldiers were not loved by the Liberian people.

“Liberian citizens complained seriously about the treatment that ECOMOG meted out to ordinary citizens. At check points, they would beat the people, they would take away their items, I mean, they were wild,” Mr Taylor said. “And I was the person that always talked about the sovereign rights of Liberians in their country, unruly behaviors on the part of ECOMOG troops — Liberians were really, really angry,” he said.

In his re-examination, Mr. Taylor has been seeking to clarify certain issues that were raised during his cross-examination by the prosecution. His defense counsel, Courtenay Griffiths today informed the court that Mr. Taylor’s re-examination will likely be concluded by tomorrow. If that happens, both prosecution and defense will tender several documents to be admitted in evidence and then Mr. Taylor’s witnesses will start testifying in his defense immediately after.

Mr. Taylor’s re-examination continues tomorrow.


  1. “General Malu reportedly claimed that in 1997, Mr. Taylor secretly smuggled arms and ammunition from South Africa through the Free Port of Monrovia without informing Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) peacekeepers.”

    This is totally nonsense and Gen. Malu sound as a person who was incompetent in his duties as the head of ECOMOG peacekeeping force. If someone was smuggling goods why would they inform the people who was to seize their goods they was smuggling. Gen Malu and his forces were not doing the jobs if they only found out about this smuggling of these arms and ammunition from South Africa after the facts. Gen Malu book read like a collection of imaginary tale.

      1. Hi Ken — apologies for the delay. I’ve taken some time to get to comments today — I have been in meetings all day. I appreciate your patience.

  2. It’s comedic to hear the former head of state of Liberia lament in court over the abusive treatment of Liberians at checkpoints guarded by ECOMOG soldiers! All of a sudden charlie realizes that the citizens of Liberia were not only being humiliated by the then Peacekeepers but by his notorious ATU headed by his son ‘Chuckie’ and NPFL rebels, and General Malu being “rude” and undeplomatic? This sounds like a ‘TOTAL NONESENSE’ mr. taylor! You were responsible for all the sufferings of your own people in the name of greed and selfishness you subjected the citizenry of Liberia that ended in many refugee camps across West Africa! You need to stop pretending to love Liberians and concentrate only on your supporters that helped you in carrying out all the crimes commited against the people of not only Liberia, but Sierra Leone! I rest my case!

    1. If you know the history, just read on. Gen. Malu was nothing but an incompetent soldier,leading a very wild and violent bunch.

    2. Fallah,
      I 1000,000% disagree with your asertion that Taylor was responsible for the sufferings and death of Liberians; Think back a little about President William Richard Tolbert. Can you come up with any tangible reason why such a man was killed by those bunch of illiterate hooligans who called them selves soldiers? My brother, the death of Tolbert brought all the terrible days Liberians through. Taylor was a nononesence defending president who always loved his country and countrymen. LONG LIVE CHARLES TAYLOR

  3. No one in Liberia will deny the behavior of the peace keepers during the 1990s. I personally was beaten twice and presently bear a scar on my back. The peace keepers became laws onto themselves. No one dared to question them at the time.

    1. Daniel,

      I agree with you that no one can deny the treatment of the ECOMOG troops. We all have seen it or heard of it. Our former driver was beaten severely and later died from his injuries, yes from ECOMOG. You will also have to admit that we subjected ourselves to this ill-treatment as well. If we had not been so crazy to dehumanize our people. I am not justifying the actions of ECOMOG.

      I find it ironical that CT “claims” to be concern about “us”. I guess after 250,000 lives later and approximately 3 years in the slammer, he realizes, wow, Liberians are “people” after all. He didn’t think so when his boys called humans “dog” and Krahn or Mandingo dogs. The news in Liberia should read, “Revelation, Taylor cares for us, but after 250,000 lives later”. None of these “bastards” (all the dang warlords) care of me, you, or anyone, but themselves. Taylor sits there, and lies with a “straight face”. He is concerned about us–TAYLOR BROTHER, YOU LIE ON THIS ONE! You don’t care for us.

      Victor Malu, well, I don’t think he is objective enough to render a sound observation….

      Daniel, How are you today though?

      1. Bnker, I do sympathize with you for the death of your driver. Well, I hope you remember well that those guys came here for peace keeping and to protect the civilian population in particular. Why would they turn against the same people they came to protect? As for your figures in death toll from the war, I greatly differ with you because I’ve no confirm information on the total number of people killed during our wars. Remember also that it wasn’t Taylor alone that had forces fighting here. Almost seven different groups were involved in the war. Just don’t cast all the blame on Taylor like the prosecutors did and now they are finding it very difficult to prove. My dear brother, this case isn’t about Liberia anyway. If we in Liberia decide to have our own court, Taylor and all others will have to answer.

      2. Bnker,

        Could I disagree with you on the ECOMOG-Abuse as well as Taylor’s love liberians issue. To begin with ecomog was a peacekeeping force and not a law enforcement body. Whether Liberians invited mischief unto themselves it was not ecomog’s place to assume law enforcement responsibility onto itself. That role transformation was tantaumount to usurpation of authority if not an abuse of its intended role. Hence all the claims of forms of abuse or the action thereof , albeit physical or psychological were inherent in the false role that they assumed. Had they remained int he echelon of peacekeeping this discussion would not be necessary. But they did not only become law enforcement, they were also beligerent. They considered themselves a faction at one point and fought alongside other factions. This issue can well become eligible for study-african peacekeeping role what have we learned, how far have we come?

        Let us move on if you may to the issue of Taylor-love for Liberia. I do not think anyone is more liberian than the other. This explosion that culminated into the taylor war was a timebomb waiting to be ignited. All the social, political and economic disparity as well as the pseudoclass system were sufficient misgivings that could ignited at some point. The coup d’etat of 1980 did not fully engulf the rupture, hence the taylor-led insurgency. Do you believe that high rate of illiteracy is a mistake? No, it was a design by the so-called ameirco-liberians(as they falsely classed themselves) to keep the natives out of the
        spectra of advancement. This design failed to expand the means for the creation of opportunity for self-advancement. That is why we can look and sadly say a child born in village in Liberia is destined to poverty, not by his choosing, but by the failure of our system.

        So brother, to hold Taylor responsible in totality is ill-fetched. Could he have helped to minimized the level of atrocity, absolutely. But not only he. The Krahns and mandingos that you mentioned were the authority of the day. They were empowered(elected government) to protect liberians. Yet Vanjah Richard, Robet Philips and others were killed in cold blood. And let me say that Vanjah Richards sacrificed his life for me. I was one of those arrested by the Liberia soldiers that led Vanjah Richards and others to intervene in our arrest, that resulted in their disappearance and subsequent death. By then I was a mathematics teacher at William D. Coleman High School in Klay-Ashland.

        Brother, I have to get ready for work. will continue later.

        1. Andrew…

          Ok, where do I start??

          Ecomog mandate was to secure peace, right? What is involved in securing peace? First is creating an environment where warring groups either are separated (by a buffer zone), or via a peace pact (which never held). While I am not justifying the abuses of Ecomog, I still say we were responsible. So if we had not destroyed our country and our people, would there have been a force called Ecomog? NO! So, though the abuse was unacceptable and wrong, we still behaved worse than they.

          Love for us:
          Andrew, I am full agreement that the long rule of the so-called Americo Liberia has its shadows that erupted into war. In previous posts, I’ve said that past leaderships failed us. I didn’t say Taylor was 100 percent responsible for the ill-fate, if you re-read my thread I said, “None of these “bastards” (all the dang warlords) care of me, you, or anyone, but themselves”. Do you disagree with me on this too? I don’t think I need to go any further, I think that line explains itself.

          We tend to disagree on issues regarding Taylor, but I didn’t exclusively single Taylor when it comes to my ranting about the war (I even welcome Boley’s arrest). And neither have I excused the so called, “Congo” people. Let’s face it, Taylor made life ever more difficult for many Liberians. I still don’t see what this man did positively for Liberia. Why am I referring to Taylor; he was president.

        2. Andrew Jlay,

          Do you know Ms. Getrude Jah from Clay Ashland, who was also a school teacher? If you do, I know her also. I was going out with her granddaughter from Monrovia College, who helped me to come to the states. They are are in Philadelphia, Pa. USA.

    2. Daniel B. Ochiche,

      I myself was a victim in my own country by foreign Ecomog forces. I was living in Warwein Community what other people call Bye Pass, right opposite the Police Station and right behind General David Q. Nimely House. We used to go down Jallah to fetch water from the community well. One morning, I went with my two empty yellow gallons as usual to fetch water from the well. One Ecomog soldier, who was called “Dirty Way” who usually stood watch at the check point on Jallah Town Road said, no one was getting water from the well today. We asked him why? He told us because Charles Taylor forces were killing Ecomog Soldiers. I said his action was not right, because we are not Taylor fighters. And we should not be responsible for Taylor’s action against Ecomog. This man apparently took offense of my respond. He slapped, kicked and hit me with his gun butt, and told me to sit on the ground. I did as he instructed. I sit on the grounds. He did not stop there. He went on to advance/pull charging handle of his weapon to the rear. Everybody who was at the time ran away. As God could have it, the news spread and his commander came. His commander told me to get up, “fetch your water, and go home.” I did while crying with tears running down my chicks. I was hurt. I am still hurt. My mother took me to church the same day, and I was prayed over. So Dan, some of us tasted Ecomog brute force in Liberia.

        1. Tracey,

          one way or the other, Every Liberian who was in Liberia or even out of Liberia, suffered from the hands of all the participants in the war. Trust me, I am still hurt when ever I think about that Nigerian Ecomog soldier behavior. But, I fogave him.

      1. Jose,

        I empathize with your experience at the hands of folks whose job was to keep and enforce peaceful coexistence in Liberia. The action of that ECOMOG soldier, regrettably, reflects the sad side of humanity. We can only pray and hope that humanity at all times will see the need to love – love humans, love non-human creatures (i.e., dogs, cats, etc), and love creation. I believe this is our clarion calling as humans; we must eschew the hatred that leads to enmity, bickering, and destruction and aspire to the type of love espoused by Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and that Great Individual ( JC) who was both the eschatological and soteriological fulfillment of divine redemption. Using the words of one of these folks, “love conquers hate” and love becomes a soothing therapeutic healer in our world. Sorry! I do not purpose to sound religious or philosophical; but at times, I guess, we can’t help philosophizing and thinking spiritually as we wonder why some folks find gratification in hurting, killing, or destroying others.

        Some of us could not stomach the senselessness of the conflict nor the carnage perpetuated by various factions to the conflict including the peace keepers-enforcers and the army and we exited the country…painful stuff, Jose, painful stuff! Others could not exit; but irrespective of our geographic location in the sub-region or the world, we were all affected in some ways by the mayhem and absurdity that visited our “sweet land of liberty.” Many Liberians bear emotional, mental, and physical scars as a result of events that occurred between 1980-2003. We can only pray and hope that one day full and true healing and reconciliation will occur…where wounded souls will be healed; where justice will be tempered with mercy; where we all can tearfully and ecstatically sing that old spiritual hymnody that we learned during our formative years “There is a balm in Gilead to heal our souls.”


        P.S. Tracey or Alpha, please post this comment and delete the other. Had to reedit.

        1. Tracey and Alpha,

          Please help me out. But it looks like my rejoiner to Jose is not under Jose’s February 19, 2010, 10:24 am reply tread but at the very end of this blog page.

          1. Hi Noko7 — I’m not sure why this happens but I think it is just a function of how this blog software is structured.

  4. He has now uneqivocally said that he brought in arms to support his constitutional mandate given by the people of Liberia. Now tell me folks what is wrong with it? Who cares the medium of transportation. The fact is that, the brother saved the lives of some of us and we now can boast of the excellent job he did. LONG LIVE CHARLES GHANKAY MCARTHUR DAKPHANA THE GREAT ZOE OF ZOES TAYLOR….

  5. Oh my God, Brenda Holis is really really worried that her contract may be over soon and because of that , she is requesting more cross EX.. but I enjoy how the Judges booted that out of her..

  6. fOLKS,

    Two U.N. officials going at it about President Taylor. Mr. Okello who is assigned in Sierra Leone and Mr. Dan Thomas, who is assigned in Liberia. Both man providing different account of President Taylor alleged involvement in Sierra Leone. Which one should we believe? There is a doubt. And if there is a doubt, the doubt goes to the defense favor. This case is over in favor of the defense.

  7. Well, it is real interesting folks, that Gen. Malu will write that when infact his forces were controlling this very port at that time. I think shows ECOMOG incompetency and unserious about keeping peace in Liberia. There were other ports in Liberia where pres. TAYLOR would have brought in Arms, Buchanan, Greenvile and Haper port where all function, besides San Pertro port in the Ivory Coast wasn’t far away from NPFL’ territoty at that time. I think the General lie.

    So far, the prosecutors haven’t proved anything they accused Taylor of. Let us know that Taylor is not trial of anything he did Liberia. He is accused of ailling RUF. Big disappointment awaits those of you who think Taylor will be convicted. No single proof yet for even a menial of the charles. Prove to us how arms were transported from Taylor or Liberia to RUF’s rebels in Sierra Leone, prove how Taylor got diamond from the RUF, What account Taylor and the RUF held together? Prove that meetings or letters or convrsations between Taylor and any of the RUF’s leadership. Nothing has been proven yet. The prosector will loose and Mr. Taylor will definitly this case.

    And please don’t be on the loser side….

  8. Everthing is total nonsense to this man CT, he must takes this trial lightly. And why does he keep contradicting himself.

    “Mr. Taylor maintained that during the entire period of the Liberian conflict, his National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) rebel group never had access to armored personnel carriers, tanks and anti-aircraft rifles. He explained that Operation Octopus was a military operation which was aimed at capturing Monrovia and bringing the Liberian conflict to an end.”

    I know he probably didn’t have tanks and armor personnel, but come on Taylor, everybody know you had anti aircraft guns, even videos on Youtube can prove that. Doe was already dead by 1992, Prince Johnson base in Duala at Caldwell junction was now ECOMOG’s base.

    So if he (CT) wanted to end the conflict he should have just stop the fighting, he was the anchor in the conflict at this time. ECOMOG and an Interim Govt. was in place, all he had to do was wait for 1997 election but he didn’t because he love power and couldn’t stomach the fact that he would not be in control of most of the country.

    See folks Taylor is not has smart has his supporters think, he’s just another con man. War was not the answer, he could have easily been a great hero in the WORLD not just LIBERIA if he had taken a the route of a non-violent revolution. MLK and Ghandi did it, why not Taylor.

    1. John, you ready again oh!!! When I get back, I will address your misrepresentation of the facts. Standby to standby.

    2. John Thompson,
      You are wrong when Opertion Octupus was lauched Prince Johnson was still at his Caldwell base. Prince Johnson’s big mouth was for us in Monrovia only. The Taylor forces over ran his positions within hours and then he fled to the ECOMOG base in the Freeport. In the first part of your blog you admit Charles Taylor did not have APC’s or tanks but if as you say he had anti aircraft guns. Then the question begs why was the NPFL never able to shoot down an ECOMOG jet or DooDoo birds as they were called?

      You said Charle Taylor should have just waited for the 1997 election. Many of us in Liberia felt that LURD and MODEL should have just waited for the 2003 election if they wanted to liberate the people.

    3. Thompson,
      This whole trial is just total nonesence. We will continue to sing this song so that it sinks and settles down in the minds of you haters. I will once again say, all the claims you are making here are totally nonesensical. Who told you war was not the answere? You say so because you did not have the wisdom of seeing beyond the horizon. Doe had send his Romania forty barrels misile to distroy Nimba County and you say war was not answere?.Go to Gborplay today and you will see the disabled truck parked there. Thank God for the bravery of the NPFL Special Forces. Thompson, I got headache rigt now…

    4. John, are you comparing African politic to that of the west? even in the west people got kill. 4 real John are you sleeping? if so please wake-up. Samuel Doe was the GREATEST Hero ever in Liberia where is his grave?

  9. These prosecutors must be DREAMING….whoever they got their PROGRAMS from let them down. TANKS?? And they didn’t produce a SINGLE PICTURE?? So where are the tanks today??

  10. $$Ker-Bnker
    It funny how you blame Mr. Taylor for all the death in Liberia, but most of the people I know, were killed by people you sympatized with, ie, AFL, ULIMOK-J, LURD

    You are asserting that these factions did nothing to the Liberian people only the NPFL. Are you blind? Who carried out the Carter Camp killings, Luthuren Church killing, Rev. Mason, Tuss and Fritz Moulton, Archie Green and his father, R. Van Richards, my classmate, Sebron Bernard, Senge killings, I can go on and on… but I guess, it’s Charles Taylor.

    Again, you are forgetting, this case is about Sierra Leone!!!

    1. Simeon,

      No, no, you missed it… is a clip of what I said:
      None of these “bastards” (all the dang warlords) care of me, you, or anyone, but themselves”. Usually, when I refer to warlords Doe’s army is included….

      Please go back and read, Mr. Wright!

    2. Simeon,
      My man, you threw my mind way way back. Yes those boys Tuss and Fritz. Infact, what’s about colonel Vleh. A decent and career soldier who was killed by Charles Julu only because he and Doe felt this guy, even though was Khran from Grand Gedeh, but was loved by the people of Yekepa and Nimba County atlarge. You also brought to my mind , another person (Cooper Teah) who was picked up by Doe Soldiers in area T and beheaded only because of his name at the time. For this guy, so help me God, I personally saw him in the back of the white Toyota pickup, naked and taken to the Old Mine Road. We all went to St. Joseph School in area “N” and lived in area “T” at the time…man, sometimes, you don’t want to think about those days cause it brings chills…

  11. Aki, I am very much sure that you were in and felt the heat and not like many on this blog who relied on the media at the time. all that you said is 100% correct. My God, if Taylor had Tanks and other heavy duty weapons especially during operation octopus,Nigeria/ECOMOG could have cut their stay short in Lib.

  12. The tanks and all the heavy duty weapons I guess Taylor send it to Sierra Leone are these people 4 REAL?

  13. ECOMOG was a brute force especially the Nigerians and Guineans. Only the Ghanian was a more discipline army. If Charles Taylor had not spoken strongly against the Nigerian ECOMOG , they would have continued the brutality against ordinary Liberians. Imagine how those ECOMOG soldiers looted Liberia and took away all of our properties on their ships.

    On this one, I supported Taylor action against ECOMOG.

  14. IS this taylor’s website? i wrote two comments which were unpublished, is it because of the facts i wrote? suit yourself ok. i know its cohorts of taylor who are moderating this website and its contents.
    am out of here. u know what? i write on the this is for liberians who want to intellectually exchange ideas, and their ideas are published unlike this quasi-taylor’s site.
    am out of here……

    1. Hi Siddiq Konneh,
      Thanks for your comment. Moderation takes longer on weekends than it does during the week. I have posted a note to you about your two comments, which need to be slightly rephrased to fit with our policy and legal requirements for the site. If you can resubmit them in accordance with our policy, I will happily post them.

  15. Charles Taylor,one time Warlord and former Liberian President must face justice for his Unattractive political ambition. He lead war to Neighboring Country SierraLeone by using his Presidential power in supplying weapons to his counterpart the “RUF rebbel” thereby destorying lives and properties. Not with standing, he also brought the Liberian economy to nowhere.

    I was glad to hear that this man was needed by the International Criminal court to facing justice.
    I hope the ICC will do its best for a man like Charles Taylor to pay for the damages he has caused in West African region.

    From Mr. Clarence D. Eastman, Jr.
    University of Liberia/ Liberia, West Africa

    1. Dear Clarence Eastman — I think this is the first time we have received a comment from you on this site, and I wanted to welcome you to the conversation.

      I am also very interested to hear your view too about how this trial is being received in Liberia — are people interested in following the trial? Are they able to follow it through the radio, television or newspapers? I’m curious to hear teh general buzz about the trial in Monrovia, if you are willing to share your thoughts.


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