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Some state, non-state, and international actors known to have used regional warriors and/or supported insurgencies in West Africa from 1989 – 2003:

National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) 1989-1996: The NPFL launched its war against Liberian President Samuel K. Doe from Côte d’Ivoire. The NPFL received considerable logistical support from Côte d’Ivoire and for many years exported Liberian timber through Ivorian territory. The NPFL also received logistical support and training, and used some military personnel from Burkina Faso.

Liberian United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO) 1992-1996:  Liberian rebel group which, from 1992 onwards, received support from ECOMOG peacekeepers from the Economic Community of West African States and the Sierra Leonean and Guinean governments to help defeat the NPFL.

Liberian Peace Council (LPC) 1995-1996: From approximately 1995, received logistical support from ECOMOG forces in order to assist in defeating the NPFL.

Sierra Leonean Revolutionary United Front (RUF) 1991-2002: At first, the RUF was largely a proxy group funded and supported by the NPFL. From 1991, the NPFL provided significant military, personnel and logistical backing to the RUF, which continued even after NPFL leader Charles Taylor became Liberia's president in 1997, in breach of U.N. arms embargos against both Liberia and the RUF.

Sierra Leonean Government 1991 – 1994:  Used Liberian ULIMO rebels to fight the Sierra Leonean government’s battle with the RUF.  In exchange for this assistance, ULIMO used Sierra Leone as a back-base for its war against the NPFL, and on several occasions, were joined by SLA soldiers who accompanied them on military operations into Liberia

Sierra Leonean Civil Defense Force Militias (CDF) 1997-1998: Received logistics, intelligence and other help from ECOMOG personnel stationed in Liberia and the transitional Liberian government to help defeat the Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC) which had in May 1997 overthrown democratically elected Sierra Leonean president Tejan Kabbah. The CDF trained inside Liberia, and in early 1998 launched a military offensive from northern Liberia to drive the AFRC from power. They used many Liberians in this campaign.

Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) 1999-2003: Had recruitment officers in Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, and Ghana from where they recruited thousands of Sierra Leonean CDF and former RUF combatants, as well as Liberian refugees within camps in Sierra Leone, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.

Guinean government 2000-2003: Provided economic, military and logistical backing for the LURD which, in 2003, unseated then-president Charles Taylor.

Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL) 2002-2003: Liberian rebel group which broke off from the LURD and which recruited hundreds of Liberian refugees from Côte d’Ivoire 

Government of Burkina Faso 2002-2004:From at least 2002 provided logistical support for the Patriotic Movement of Côte d’Ivoire (MPCI) which in September 2002 launched a failed bid to overthrow President Laurent Gbagbo. The MPCI went on to consolidate its control of the north of the country.

Government of Liberia 2002-2003: Shortly after the September 2002 coup attempt against the government of Côte d’Ivoire by the MPCI, the Liberian government created two rebel groups made up primarily of Liberian militia men and Sierra Leonean fighters formerly allied to the RUF. The two groups were called the Patriotic Movement of the Far West (MPIGO) and the Movement for Justice and Peace (MJP) and fought in western Côte d’Ivoire.

Government of Côte d’Ivoire 2002-2003Permitted Liberian rebel group MODEL to actively recruit Liberian refugees and make use of Ivorian territory to launch attacks against Liberia in exchange for MODEL’s help in combating Ivorian rebels. Hundreds of MODEL fighters actively worked alongside the Ivorian government army and smaller militia groups.

<<previous  |  indexApril 2005