[JURIST] Fugitive war crimes indictee Charles Taylor [JURIST news archive], who disappeared from his villa [JURIST report] in the south of Nigeria where he had been living in exile since 2003, has been recaptured, according to a Nigerian police spokesman. The Liberian ex-president was reportedly detained while going through immigration at Gamboru-Ngala, a town near Nigeria's border with Cameroon. The BBC quotes the spokesman as saying:
He was wearing a white flowing robe...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.A local trader told the BBC that he been in a Range Rover with diplomatic plates.
Taylor's capture came shortly before Nigerian President Olesegun Obasanjo had been due to leave Nigeria for Washington, where he was to have a meeting with President Bush. Nigerian authorities say that Taylor will be flown to the Nigerian capital of Abuja later today. Nigeria has said it will transfer custody of Taylor to Liberia [JURIST report], which is expected to transfer him for trial by the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone [official website]. BBC News has more.
9:19 AM ET - Nigerian officials have now deported Taylor to Liberia, where UN peacekeepers are preparing to take him into custody and transfer him to the Special Court for Sierra Leone where he will face war crimes charges [indictment]. According to a Nigerian government statement:
President Obasanjo has directed the immediate repatriation of Charles Taylor to Liberia, to be placed in the custody of the Government of Liberia to help the Government of Liberia which had requested custody of the former President.Reuters has more.