November 2, 2003
The United States Congress authorized President George Bush to spend $2 million to "capture" former Liberian President Charles Taylor. Jacques Klein, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special representative in Liberia, has said that Taylor (wanted for war crimes by a U.N.-backed court in Sierra Leone) took an estimated $1 billion out of Liberia when he fled to exile in Nigeria.
However, the reports that the US Congress approved a $2 million bounty is raising fears that mercenaries may take up the challenge to kidnap Mr Taylor. At the end of August, an Anglo-American firm, Northbridge Services International, offered to "enforce the indictment and arrest warrant for President Charles Taylor".
The real danger would be from trigger-happy amateurs, since Military Service Providers (MSPs) like the firm Intercon (which guards the US Embassy) are already in Liberia. Retired Marine Horacio Hernandez noted that his personnel fought like soldiers during rebel sieges, at times lifting guns from slain rebels. Under the former US/African military partnership called the African Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI), the firm MPRI trained African peace enforcers who are currently serving in Liberia. - Adam Geibel