International

Liberian politician running on a ‘free Charles Taylor’ promise

A Liberian senatorial candidate in the upcoming polls is promising to free former president Charles Taylor from prison if he wins the election.

Menikpakei Dumoe hails from the central Bong County, where Taylor lived when he was a rebel leader in the 1990s.

A UN-backed court convicted Taylor of war crimes over his support for rebels who committed atrocities in neighbouring Sierra Leone during the 1991-2002 civil war.

He is serving a 50-year prison sentence in a UK prison.

“We want Taylor released because our people want him back; we see him as a true nationalist leader who stood up for all of the people,” Mr Dumoe told the BBC.

“Other West African countries participated in our crisis, but their leaders have not been imprisoned,” he said.

Mr Dumoe has put up billboards bearing photos of himself and Taylor in Gbarnga town, which was the headquarters of Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia movement.

But some people in the region see his move as a mere political ploy to gain the sympathy of Taylor’s supporters.

Liberians in the country’s 15 counties will vote in the mid-term senatorial elections on 8 December.