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Liberia war crimes suspect released in London

1 min 7Approximate reading time

A 45-year-old man arrested in Britain on suspicion of committing war crimes during Liberia's civil wars has been released, but remains under investigation, police said on Friday.

Detectives did not identify the man but Liberia's FrontPageAfrica newspaper named him as Jankuba Fofana, without quoting sources.

The daily described him as a former frontline commander in the Liberia United for Reconciliation and Democracy rebel group, which opposed president Charles Taylor.

London's Metropolitan Police arrested the man in the southeast of the British capital on Thursday morning after an allegation relating to the civil wars between 1989 and 2003.

He was held under section 51 of the International Criminal Court Act 2001, which covers genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

"Officers have finished searching an address in southeast London. Enquiries are ongoing," the force said in a statement.

Some 250,000 people were killed in the back-to-back wars that ravaged Liberia, which were marked by the widespread use of mutilation and rape and deployment of child soldiers.

Several arrests have been made across Europe in recent years in relation to the civil wars, including in Finland in March.

Last year, a British judge dismissed torture charges against the ex-wife of former president Taylor, whose National Patriotic Front guerilla group sparked the civil war in 1989.

Agnes Taylor, a former lecturer at Coventry University in central England, had denied being involved in the torture of a child and conspiring to use rape during the conflict.

Charles Taylor, who became president in 1997 and quit in 2003, was the first former head of state to be jailed by an international court since the Nuremberg trials after World War II.

He was convicted in 2012 on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity over acts committed by Sierra Leonean rebels he aided and abetted. He was transferred to Britain in 2013.

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