Bloody Civil War in Liberia:
From 1989 to 1996 one of Africa's bloodiest civil wars ensued, claiming the lives of more than 200,000 Liberians and displacing a million others into refugee camps in neighboring countries. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) intervened in 1990 and succeeded in preventing Charles Taylor from capturing Monrovia. Prince Johnson – formerly a member of Taylor's National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) – formed the break-away Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL).
Trying to Find Common Ground for Government:
On 9 September 1990 Prince Johnson's forces captured and killed Doe. Taking refuge in Sierra Leone and other neighboring countries, former AFL soldiers founded the new insurgent United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO), fighting back Taylor’s NPFL. An Interim Government of National Unity (IGNU) was formed in Gambia under the auspices of ECOWAS in October 1990, headed by Dr. Amos Claudius Sawyer. Taylor (along with other Liberian factions) refused to work with the interim government and continued fighting.
Dr. Sawyer, for the Liberian People's Party, LPP, remained in power until 7 March 1994, and was succeeded by a rapid succession of heads of state (David Donald Kpormakpor, Wilton G. S. Sankawulo, and Ruth Sando Perry) acting as Chairmen of the Council of State for the Liberian National Transitional Government, LNTG. Ruth Perry was Africa's first non-elected Female leader.
Ghankay Charles Taylor for President:
After more than a dozen peace accords and declining military power, Taylor finally agreed to the formation of a five-man transitional government. A hasty disarmament and demobilization of warring factions was followed by special elections on 19 July 1997. Charles Taylor and his National Patriotic Party, NPP, emerged victorious. Taylor won the election by a large majority, primarily because Liberians feared a return to war had Taylor lost.
Exporting War to Sierra Leone:
For the next six years, the Taylor government did not improve the lives of Liberians. Unemployment and illiteracy stood above 75%, and little investment was made in the country's infrastructure. (Liberia is still trying to recover from the ravages of war; pipe-borne water and electricity are generally unavailable to most of the population, especially outside Monrovia, and schools, hospitals, roads, and infrastructure remain derelict.) Rather than work to improve the lives of Liberians, Taylor supported the Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone.
Opposing Liberia's Lord of Misrule:
Taylor’s misrule led to the resumption of armed rebellion from among Taylor's former adversaries. By 2003, armed groups called "Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy" (LURD) and "Movement for Democracy in Liberia" (MODEL), largely representing elements of the former ULIMO-K and ULIMO-J factions that fought Taylor during Liberia’s previous civil war (1989-1996), were challenging Taylor and his increasingly fragmented supporters on the outskirts of Monrovia.
Sierra Leone Indicts Liberian President Charles Taylor:
On 4 June 2003 in Accra, Ghana, ECOWAS facilitated peace talks among the Government of Liberia, civil society, and the LURD and MODEL rebel groups. On the same day, the Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone issued a press statement announcing the opening of a sealed 7 March 2003 indictment of Liberian President Charles Taylor for "bearing the greatest responsibility" for atrocities in Sierra Leone since November 1996.
President Taylor Resigns:
In July 2003 the Government of Liberia, LURD, and MODEL signed a cease-fire that all sides failed to respect; bitter fighting reached downtown Monrovia in July and August 2003, creating a massive humanitarian disaster. On August 11, 2003, under intense U.S. and international pressure, President Taylor resigned office and departed into exile in Nigeria. He was succeeded for an interim period of two months by President Moses Zeh Blah of the NPP. Taylor's move paved the way for the deployment by ECOWAS of what became a 3,600-strong peacekeeping mission in Liberia (ECOMIL).
A National Transitional Government prepares Liberia for the Future:
On 18 August leaders from the Liberian Government, the rebels, political parties, and civil society signed a comprehensive peace agreement that laid the framework for constructing a 2-year National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL), headed by businessman Charles Gyude Bryant – he became head of state on 14 October. The UN took over security in Liberia in October 2003, subsuming ECOMIL into the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), a force that grew to nearly 15,000.
Free and Fair Elections, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Takes Charge:
The October 11, 2005 presidential and legislative elections and the subsequent November 8, 2005 presidential run-off were the most free, fair, and peaceful elections in Liberia’s history. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf defeated international soccer star George Weah 59.4% to 40.6% to become Africa’s first democratically elected female president. She was inaugurated on16 January 2006 formed a government of technocrats drawn from among Liberia's ethnic groups, including members of the Liberian diaspora who have returned to the country to rebuild government institutions.
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(Text from Public Domain material, US Department of State Background Notes.)