U.S. offers $2 million bounty for Liberian


WASHINGTON - The United States is offering a $2 million reward for the capture of the former Liberian president, Charles G. Taylor, a congressional aide said yesterday.

The reward is part of the bill signed into law by President Bush that authorizes $87.5 billion for emergency spending for Iraq and Afghanistan.

A clause in the bill allocates the reward "for an indictee of the Special Court for Sierra Leone," but it does not mention anyone by name. But John Scofield, the majority spokesman for the House Appropriations Committee, said the reference is to Taylor, who has been charged with war crimes by a U.N.-backed court in Sierra Leone for his role in the country's decade-long civil war.

Scofield said he did not know when the clause was added to the bill.

Taylor emerged as a warlord in Liberia in 1989, helping fuel a civil war that killed 150,000 people. He was elected president in 1997 and was later accused of sponsoring brutal rebel groups in Sierra Leone. U.N. officials contend that during his six years in office he impoverished his country.

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