France has detained a suspected former militant commander from Liberia’s brutal civil war and charged him with crimes against humanity for alleged atrocities including torture and cannibalism, police said Friday.
A legal source said the man, identified as naturalised Dutch citizen Kunti K., is suspected of being a former commander in the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO), which fought during the 1990s.
Arrested on Tuesday in the Paris region, he is suspected of torture, murder, slavery, the use of child soldiers and cannibalism between 1993 and 1997.
Liberia, Africa’s oldest republic, formed by freed American slaves, was devastated by two civil wars which killed around 250,000 people between 1989 and 2003.
ULIMO was set up to fight a rebel force headed by warlord-turned-president Charles Taylor, who is currently serving a 50-year prison sentence for aiding and abetting rebels who committed atrocities in neighbouring diamond-rich Sierra Leone.
Kunti K., born in 1974, was detained in a joint operation by elite GIGN police and officers from France’s OCLCH agency, which investigates war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.
Paris prosecutors had opened an initial investigation into Kunti K. after victims’ rights group Civitas Maxima filed a criminal complaint on July 23.