Liberia ex-warlord cleared for presidential bid
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Last Updated: Thursday, September 23, 2010, 00:15
Monrovia (Liberia): One of Liberia's most infamous warlords on on Wednesday launched his presidential campaign, a race sure to be overshadowed by his reputation for gruesome acts and a government commission's quest to try him for crimes against humanity.

The National Elections Commission said that Prince Johnson's party, the National Union for Democratic Progress, met the constitutional requirements to compete in next year's poll in the West African nation.

Party chairman Emmanuel Lomax praised the party's certification as "the birth of democracy in Liberia."

The warlord-turned-senator is likely to face stiff opposition from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a Harvard-trained economist who became Africa's first democratically elected female president in 2005.

Johnson is best known for the torture and slaying of ousted president Samuel K Doe in 1990. A videotape of the event shows Johnson drinking beer as he ordered his men to cut off Doe's ears.

Johnson was overwhelmingly elected in 2005 to the Senate by his native Nimba county for a nine-year term.

Liberia is still tending its wounds after a civil war that had ravaged the country, turned children into cold-blooded killers and was marked by cannibalism. The war ended only seven years ago.


First Published: Thursday, September 23, 2010, 00:15

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