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Lessons and Reflections on the Past Present and the Future


When Peacekeeping

Becomes Peace Enforcement

Geopolitical Dynamics of West Africa Mediation 

in the Liberian Civil War 1990-1997 

By Alhaji G. V. Kromah
(BA, LL.B., LL.M., MA, MAIR, SJD-cand.)

Posted July 4, 2008
Written 2002



This study examines the legal, political and interpersonal dynamics of multilateral involvement in the Liberian internal armed conflict and how the peacekeeping turned into peace enforcement operations. The seven-year war, which began at the end of 1989, had a devastating impact on the country and posed a demonstrable threat to the stability of the rest of the West African sub-region.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) militarily intervened for peace, but not without a price for the benefactor and the beneficiaries of the intervention. The peacekeeping force, ECOMOG, had to militarily force its way into Liberia to contain the chaos created by hostilities between the Liberian government and the rebel NPFL forces. The latter had invaded the country from the neighboring Ivory Coast with the expressed objective of replacing the government of President Samuel K. Doe.

The ECOWAS decision to send in troops was official but not entirely unanimous. The French-speaking Ivory Coast, which was openly supporting the NPFL, led members who expressed political and legal reservations. Nigeria, the English-speaking powerhouse, was sympathetic to the government of President Doe.

The controversy did not only affect the ability of ECOMOG to contain the conflict, but also underscored the legacies of France’s colonial past in West Africa. Significant also was the involvement of Libya, and this is compared to the relatively inactive role played at the time by the United States, a country that connects historically to Liberia. It was mostly former black slaves and their offspring going back to Africa in the early 1800’s who declared the independence of Liberia.

The interplay of competing and conflicting external interests in the conflict indeed had its own complications for the intervention of ECOWAS, though the military move by the sub-regional body generally stood as a remarkable gain for an organization primarily founded for multilateral economic integration.


Within eight months of the 1989 Christmas Eve attack by insurgents of the rebel NPFL led by Charles Taylor, the government of President Samuel K. Doe had lost control over most of the country. An NPFL breakaway group, the Independent National Patriotic Front (INPFL) led by Prince Yormie Johnson, entered the suburbs of Monrovia, the capital, poised to attack Doe’s Executive Mansion. Doe was eventually killed and the nation began the winding road of a devastating internal armed conflict that also hatched eggs of instability in Liberia’s three neighboring countries (Sierra Leone, Guinea, and La Cote d’Ivoire).

The 15-member ECOWAS had earlier before the death of Doe began a series of meetings to contain the rapidly deteriorating strife in Liberia. One of the most important decisions from the consultations was the creation and deployment of ECOMOG. Though ECOWAS was an economic and development association of nations established since 1975, it appeared prepared to assume a robust diplomatic and military role in the Liberian conflict.

The cease-fire that ECOMOG was supposed to monitor was still an ECOWAS wishful thinking. The intervention force arrived by sea in Monrovia to a barrage of heavy artillery bombardment from the NPFL, which had also closed up on the capital and was fighting to get the INPFL out of the way. Charles Taylor vehemently condemned the coming of the peacekeepers, claiming among other reasons, that ECOWAS was coming in inspired by Nigeria to defend the Doe regime. Prince Johnson, then in a political scheme of trying to lure Doe out of his downtown Executive Mansion fort, welcomed the West African intervention.

Johnson said he would also cooperate with the Interim government of National Unity (IGNU) that had been set up at an August 1990 conference of Liberians under the auspices of ECOWAS. The Conference was convened in Banjul, The Gambia, whose head of state, Sir Dauda Jawara, was the Current Chairman of ECOWAS.

Elements of Early External Involvement

African countries spanning from the West to the North were from the onset involved with the planning and sustaining of the NPFL insurrection while others were left panting under the shocking and devastating consequences. Their involvement was as complex as the war itself, but with time, the hidden dimensions unraveled.

Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, France & Libya

The NPFL rebel group invaded Liberia from la Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Liberia’s eastern neighbor. Most of the officials and families of Doe’s predecessor, William R. Tolbert, had taken refuge in the Ivory Coast. Tolbert was killed nine years earlier in a military coup led by Master Sergeant Doe and other young indigenous non-commissioned officers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL). The Ivory Coast was also hosting thousands of members of the country’s Gio and Mano ethnic groups, who had complained of being persecuted by the Doe regime.

The President of the Ivory Coast at the time, Felix Houphouet-Boigny, was not only an in-law of the Tolberts, but had also emerged over thirty years of leadership as the doyen of French-speaking West Africa. Boigny had a turbulent relationship with Doe over the death of Adolphus Tolbert, son-in-law of the Ivorian leader, and the killing of the older President Tolbert during the coup. When Taylor turned up in Abidjan to begin planning his rebellion, it was thought that there was little sign of discouragement from his host. Boigny would in fact introduce Taylor to friends who would end up being the most dependable sponsors and friends of the rebel leader.

The Gios and Manos fled to the Ivory Coast following a split between Doe and Fellow Coup Maker Brigadier Thomas Quiwonkpa, a Gio. Generally called the ‘Strong Man of the Revolution’ (the 1980 coup), Quiwonkpa fled the country in 1984 and returned at the head of a military insurgency against Doe by way of neighboring Sierra Leone. The coup failed, and the former brigadier was killed. There was accusation that the government carried out widespread reprisals against the Gios, along with members from the related Mano tribe. But the Government denied this citing Gios and Manos as serving in high public positions. Most members of the two tribes, found in Liberia’s Nimba County bordering the Ivory Coast, easily crossed the border to their Ivorian kinsmen called Yacubas.

Taylor, who could identify with the Tolberts as an Americo-Liberian and to the Gios through personal relations with the late Quiwonkpa, successfully garnered financial resources on the continent and recruits among the Gios and Manos. The connections in the Ivory Coast were valuable as they extended to Burkina Faso where Taylor traveled, coinciding with the overthrow and killing President Thomas Sankara. The slain leader and Blaise Campaore, his deputy who overthrew him, had helped Taylor establish relations with Libyan Leader Moamar Khadafi who offered training and arms to Taylor for two years before the invasion. Campaore’s wife, Chantal, was also a foster daughter of Boigny.

France’s connection was a matter of media comments for several months. The Ivorian colonial and post-colonial African ally had always been uneasy about Nigeria’s becoming the absolute economic power ahead of the Ivory Coast, France’s premier clientele state within West African. In Nigeria, there were still memories of the role France played along with the Ivory Coast when the military governor of Eastern Nigeria broke away and declared a separate country called Biafra. A British intelligence paper says that France secretly provided large shipments of weapons to Biafra through the Ivory Coast and Gabon, another Francophonie in Central Africa. When Biafra collapsed, the secessionist leader, Col. Odumegwu Emeka Ojukwu fled to the Ivory Coast and lived in exile for many years.

The French were also considered as having some indirect economic interest in the NPFL war. When Taylor established control over most of Liberia, a French businessman doing logging in Liberia before the war reportedly joined with a French diplomat in the Ivory Coast to begin commercial relations with Taylor. The diplomat is said to have traveled to Taylor’s headquarters in Gbarnga, and with the forests in the Ivory Coast rapidly decreasing, Liberia became a lucrative alternative. French companies are said to have visited Taylor’s control area, and being aware of the risky port conditions in the area, converted the Ivorian Port of San Pedro into an export center for Liberian logs. Besides timber, Liberian diamond and gold were in abundance in the port area for onward trading in France.

France had a convergence of geopolitical interests with Libya, which, as indicated supra, always wanted a closer relationship with West Africa. The Libyan leader had grown from one of the early supporters of the 1980 coup to a Doe archenemy in 1989. President Doe’s desire to woo the friendship of the United States for the elections in 1985 induced him to adopt an impulsively belligerent stance against Khadafi, perceived as an American offender. In one instance at the 1988 Non-Aligned Summit in Zimbabwe, Doe threatened to assault Khadafi if the latter included Liberia in his condemnation of countries that had started resuming diplomatic relations with Israel. African and Arab countries had broken relations with Israel as an expression of solidarity with the Palestinians after the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. Reports from Harare indicated that Khadafi was bewildered by this “strange” diplomatic posture of Doe.

Libya subsequently played host to the training of the NPFL rebels who thereafter led the 1989 attacks into Liberia from the Ivory Coast. The Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Libya together sustained the NPFL war until policy changes began to emerge in the Ivory Coast with the death of Houphouet-Boigny in 1993. Libya intermittently showed lack of interest later as the war advanced with international media focus on the conduct of the NPFL in the conflict. But Burkina Faso under Campaore remained adamantly supportive. And until a few months before the election of 1997 in Liberia, Burkina Faso never participated in ECOMOG. Along with the Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso became one of the countries of relative proximity that refused to contribute soldiers to the multilateral force. The two French-speaking leaders, one a protégé of the other, had stood firmly for reasons of family and French politico-cultural solidarity to see their man, Taylor, assume power in Liberia, a country outside of the French sphere of influence.

Sierra Leone & Guinea

While Ivory Coast was playing a critically supportive role for the NPFL in the East, Liberia’s western and northern neighbors, Sierra Leone and Guinea, were at minimum jittery over the events. For Sierra Leone militias led by Foday Sankoh had been reportedly quietly fighting alongside the NPFL in Liberia. With access to the northeastern border from Liberia, Sankoh infiltrated his country and announced the formation of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) with the objective of overthrowing the government of President Joseph Momoh. A former corporal and photographer of the Sierra Leone army, Sankoh had been jailed in 1971 on allegations of plotting to overthrow the government. The RUF began waging war in Sierra Leone with international speculation that the NPFL supplied military and human resources across the border. Within one year of its formation in 1991, the RUF had captured the entire border with Liberia. The rebel group’s target, Freetown, the Sierra Leone capital, was a big center for ECOWAS activities in Liberia. The city was the first venue of peace talks initiated by Liberia’s Interfaith Mediation Committee composed of Muslims and Christians, and served as temporary headquarters for the air contingent of the peacekeepers.

Conteh-Morgan and Kadivar argue that the government of Sierra Leone’s identifying with ECOWAS and providing the country as a staging ground for ECOMOG was part of the “need to preserve and defend the homeland.” The authors emphasize that the West African country’s weak economy and inferior military made the Momoh government to consider the deployment of the peacekeepers as a useful collective approach in the sub-region that would help deter invasions. President Siaka Stevens, before Momoh, had angered President Doe in providing territory for the launching of the failed Quiwonkpa coup.

President Momoh, a former commander of the armed forces, changed policies and linked his administration’s survival to that of the Doe Government. Despite the poor quality of his military forces, he sent a contingent of soldiers to form part of ECOMOG, besides making the Lungi Airport available for the mainly Nigerian alpha jets that carried out sorties against the NPFL near Monrovia. Both the NPFL and the RUF pointed to the Sierra Leone government’s cooperation with ECOMOG as the basis for the RUF entry into Sierra Leone. But the training of Sankoh and his commanders in Libya was reason to believe that the Sierra Leone mission had been planned independent of the claims the rebel groups were making for crossing the border.

In the early days of the Taylor revolt, Momoh visited Monrovia along with Gen. Lansana Conte, President of Guinea. The two men expressed solidarity with Doe and condemned the invasion. Together with Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone had formed the Mano River Union to harmonize their custom policies and pursue general economic cooperation. Guinea was the strongest militarily, and under former President Sekou Toure, had on a number of occasions interceded in disturbance in Monrovia and Freetown that would have led to coups. Besides the mutual non-aggression agreement existing among the Mano River Union countries, Guinea had individual defense pacts with Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Relations with Guinea were the most harmonious President Doe had among the leaders of the three neighboring countries. But it appeared that the need to clearly communicate intentions between the two sides at the onset of the war was a problem. Doe thought he had presented a case to Conte to invoke a mutual defense pact that would have enabled the Guinean armed forces to intervene on the side of the Armed Forces of Liberia. The pact provides for such action in the event of a military attack on any of the signatories by a foreign force. Doe said the presence of Burkina Faso soldiers with Taylor qualified the NPFL attack as an external aggression.

In Conakry, it was clear that Conte had not understood what Doe thought was a request for Guinea’s intervention on the basis of the pact. When the embattled Liberian leader sent a special envoy to deliver the formal letter informing Guinea that there had been an invasion of Liberia involving soldiers from Burkina Faso, Conte replied that Guinea had already decided to participate in ECOMOG. Besides, Guinea was struggling to cope with the vicious influx of refugees from both Liberia and Sierra Leone, shouldering the biggest and immediate brunt among African countries harboring refugees from the two countries. Foreign Ministry officials in Conakry said this created strains on the economy and social structures of Guinea, and their government was not prepared to single-handedly join Monrovia to battle the rebels.

Guinea, despite its reluctance to move in on a bilateral basis, was one of the most determined members of ECOMOG for other reasons. NPFL rebels, who overran the eastern suburb of Monrovia where a number of African and European embassies existed, abducted the Guinean Ambassador Tidiane Diallo along with a junior diplomat. Ambassador Diallo had been on radio several weeks earlier repeating his government’s warning to the NPFL and the INPFL against harassing Guineans in rebel-held territory. He said the embassy was receiving reports of maltreatment of Guineans due to the cordial relations between Doe and Conte. Diallo and his colleague were later released and allowed to travel to Guinea through the Ivory Coast. In the vicinity of the Guinean embassy in the Congotown suburb of Monrovia, at least 2000 Nigerian residents who had taken refuge at their embassy were similarly subjected to torture or brutal killing.

Nigeria, the United States, Ghana and the Rest

Nigeria, the wealthiest in the sub-region and the most populous on the continent, became the most decisive factor in the resolution of ECOWAS to intervene diplomatically and militarily in the Liberian debacle. Besides the close relations that had existed between Liberia and Nigeria as two English-speaking countries with rich history in advocating African liberation, President Doe and Nigerian Head of State Ibrahim Babangida had developed a personal relationship. A highway adjoining Monrovia to Sierra Leone was named after Babangida as was the University of Liberia’s graduate school of international relations. The Nigerian leader financed the school and seconded Nigerian professors from the United States to teach at a session of the school conducted at the Executive Mansion.

Doe had asked his Nigerian counterpart to intervene directly against the NPFL, and though this did not happen, Taylor was on the BBC African service accusing Babangida of already providing the help. Nigeria instead took the diplomatic route through the otherwise non-political organization of ECOWAS to deal with the Liberian problem.

The West African giant had a number of crucial policy motivations for its active involvement and initiative to resolve the Liberian crisis, even if it had to mean military action. Mays refers to certain Nigerian values that were threatened by the Liberian conflict. The writer points out that the core Nigerian foreign policy values included “the protection of Nigerian citizens, territorial integrity of its embassies, and the discouragement of political upheavals in West Africa.” Mays notes that although it is a given that civilians suffer in wars, the NPFL got the reputation for murdering civilians they came across, and that Nigerians were especially killed because of the connection Taylor perceived to be between Babangida and Doe. A BBC analysis bluntly added that “Western countries had refused to intervene in Liberia, and so Nigeria, the regional giant, felt something had to be done.”

The United States was embroiled in the 1990 Iraq war, and sent no more than 200 soldiers to protect the US embassy in Monrovia and evacuate its citizens. The United States, seen as the equivalent of a former colonizing power in Liberia, defied general expectations in West Africa by its refusal to intervene militarily. The US government instead insisted that the crisis was an internal matter, and Liberians should be left to settle it. UN Security Council members, in the beginning, adopted the US position, though later on the UN dispatched an unarmed military observer mission and provided diplomatic support for the presence of ECOMOG.

The US government believed that with the Cold War coming to an end, the value of cooperation from the Liberian government was considerably diminished, according to the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in 1990, Herman Cohen. The US official actually revealed in an interview that the State Department was advocating for Doe to resign, and arrangements were made for him to live in exile in Togo, where President Gnassingbe Eyadema had no problem receiving the Liberian leader as a friend.

Doe was suspicious that Washington was no longer supporting him. The embattled Liberian President reportedly told aides that he could not understand how Charles Taylor escaped from a Plymouth jail in Massachusetts, in a powerful country like the United States, while waiting to be extradited to Liberia on charges of embezzlement. The US ambassador in Monrovia, James Bishop, was reputed to be no friend of President Doe, and unlike his predecessors, saw no need to establish personal friendship with the President of Liberia.

In a highly revealing comment that has interestingly gone unnoticed in most studies on the Liberian conflict, Assistant Secretary Cohen actually said that Charles Taylor would have taken over the government if the State Department plan of arranging for Doe to go into exile were implemented. He said he was designated to travel to Monrovia and persuade the President. The Assistant Secretary disclosed that though the plan was never revealed to Doe, President George H.W. Bush’s White House vetoed the State Department’s push for Doe to leave. Cohen said Robert Gates, then Deputy National Security Advisor to President Bush, did not give premium to the historical relationship between Liberia and the United States. Cohen quoted Gates referring to the relationship as “meaningless,” and that “it doesn't govern us anymore; we treat Liberia just like any other country, and we have no real interest there."

Doe himself had said on local radio that his resignation would have meant turning the country over to Taylor, something he passionately opposed. The alternative was to turn to his most trusted colleague in the sub-region, Ibrahim Babangida. Doe’s perception was one of confidence that a friend would not let a friend down in the gravest of hours. He had maintained what he considered excellent personal relations with the Nigerian leader, sharing nicknames like IBB for Babangida, and SK for Samuel Doe. When the issue of an ECOMOG force was being discussed, the embattled Doe still felt it was a strategy designed by Babangida solely to rescue him, and that the inhumane treatment of Nigerians and other West Africans by the NPFL was a good justification for the Nigerian move. Nigeria radio’s constantly talking about the anarchy and the deteriorating humanitarian situation only reinforced Doe’s hope that Nigeria would swiftly intervene on his side.

Ghana, for its part, was to contribute the first Field Commander and the second largest contingent in ECOMOG along with Guinea. Though they were not being specifically targeted, Ghanaians in Liberia were frightened in the face of the maltreatment of Nigerians and Guineans. In an interview with the author of this paper, former Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings said his country intervened due primarily to humanitarian and sub-regional security reasons.

As for The Gambia, its size as one of the territorially smallest in the sub-region did not matter. The Head of State, Dauda Jawara, was the Current Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State, the highest decision-making body in the organization. The country could not galvanize troops of other West Africans and exclude itself, even if it meant showing a token representation due to its military incapacity.

Legalizing the Intervention

Perhaps it was due to competing and conflicting interests among the anticipated external players of the Liberian civil war, but the delay for any kind of intervention from anywhere for nine months since the war began in Liberia baffled many Liberians. The battles had gone on covering everywhere besides the few acres surrounding President Doe’s mansion. The Liberian leader’s hope for a Nigerian and Guinean intervention dwindled with the passage of time. As it turned out, Nigeria was avoiding a unilateral action, searching for a collective framework that would allow it move into Liberia, and if nothing else, stop the emergence of a Charles Taylor government.

Legal Authority for Intervention

ECOWAS headquarters, based in the Nigerian capital of Abuja, was meanwhile put to work through a Nigerian initiative to identify a legal basis for collective intervention. The organization was the closest outfit to work through after several attempts to introduce the matter for UN action failed, and the now transformed Organization of African Unity appeared as an inappropriate forum with the presence of Libya and other powerful African nations. Nigeria could not easily dominate. Besides the charter of the OAU was still grappling with its charter provision that primarily forbade “interference in the internal affairs of member states.” Political analysts in Africa were pushing for the drastic reforming of the OAU to match the conflict realities on the continent. The OAU successor, the African Union, supports intervention in internal conflicts, but was set up more than a decade after the Liberian war.

Despite the reluctance of the United Nations, its charter provided a general legal framework for the operations of ECOWAS in Liberia. This is within the UN charter’s context that “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.”

Though textually the UN Charter refers to international armed conflicts, it is applicable to the Liberian conflict just as it has been relevant to a number of internal armed conflicts involving the UN itself in Africa. The United Nations Operations Congo (ONUC) was designed to bring under control what was primarily an internal conflict in 1960, though former colonial power Belgium was linked to the troubles. When the peacekeeping posture could not contain the conflict, ONUC was essentially modified into an enforcement outfit. From a mandate of assisting the Congolese government to maintain law and order and provide technical assistance, ONUC was empowered to maintain the territorial integrity of the Congo, preventing the repeat of the civil war and removing all foreign military forces from Congolese soil. The mission could not have been accomplished without pushing ONUC into an enforcement mode akin to the Liberian case.

Though the conflict in Liberia was internal, its multilateral dimensions expanded the perimeters of the actual war through the threat to life of nationals of Nigeria, Guinea, and Ghana, and others, as indicated earlier. The issue of extra-territorial domain with the NPFL attack on embassies was particularly crucial in Nigeria’s motivation for intervention. The anarchy in Liberia was also threatening the security of contiguous countries as was later seen in the infiltration of NPFL-backed rebels into Sierra Leone from Liberia. ECOWAS seemed to be the most appropriate and logical multilateral vehicle to intercede, following the failure of the UN to move in. The sub-regional organization, whose founding concept is attributed to Liberia’s late President William V. S. Tubman, was already the first to cut across colonial language zones and enhance cooperation in cultural and social activities among the peoples as well.

ECOWAS evidently perceived not only peaceful co-existence among its members but also importantly the need to protect each other as a requirement for economic advancement. It adopted mutual defense assistance protocols declaring that “any armed threat or aggression directed against any Member State shall constitute a threat or aggression against the entire Community.” The defense protocols helped to set the legal basis for their intervention in situations like Liberia’s. The 1981 protocol, while emphasizing non-interference, maintained that ECOWAS could intervene in the “case of internal armed conflict within any Member State engineered and supported actively from outside likely to endanger the security and peace in the entire Community.” In its fact sheet, the US state Department agrees the protocols permit “legitimate intervention” in member states.

The Doe regime was not sure about expecting intervention from ECOWAS as an organization, but it certainly looked forward to Nigeria, the most powerful friend, to step in on the side of the government. Neighboring Guinea had the military reputation to be useful to Doe, and it could be argued that from the early visit of Guinean President Lansana Conte to Monrovia, the embattled Liberian leader expected that there would be at least collaboration coming from Nigeria and Guinea.

And Nigeria and Guinea did deliver, though not in the Doe-estimated approach. Nigeria’s decision was to pursue a collective approach under the aegis of ECOWAS. At that point, it was certainly an advantage for Babangida that a fellow former English-speaking colony leader (and Muslim), President Dauda Jawara of The Gambia, would head the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State.

The 1981 Defense Protocol allowed the Authority to hold special meetings on serious defense matters as the circumstance may require. Where the member states determined it appropriate, they were to decide on whether to intercede militarily and as such entrust the responsibility to the Field Commander of the Allied Forces of the Community provided for in the protocol. Though several months past with the war raging in Liberia without sign of any outside intervention, the ECOWAS summit that took place May 1990 in Banjul under President Jawara became the most hopeful for Liberia. The proposal of a Standing Mediation Committee (SMC) pushed by Nigeria was approved to deal with the Liberian conflict. The SMC was quickly elevated to be a permanent part of the ECOWAS structure, composing of four member states selected by the ECOWAS authority, plus the current chairman. The first group of members for the SMC became Nigeria, along with Ghana and The Gambia. Two French speaking countries, Togo and Mali were added. As a permanent organ of ECOWAS, the mediation committee membership was to be revised every three years.

All the time, Nigeria kept publicly emphasizing the humanitarian and security rationale for ECOWAS to make a move. President Babangida let the world know that "[In] a sub-region of 16 countries where one out of three West Africans is a Nigerian, it is imperative that any regime in this country should relentlessly strive towards the prevention or avoidance of the deterioration of any crisis which threatens to jeopardize or compromise the stability, prosperity and security of the sub-region.... We believe that if [a crisis is] of such level that has [sic] the potentials to threaten the stability, peace and security of the sub-region, Nigeria in collaboration with others in this sub-region, is duty-bound to react or respond in appropriate manner necessary to.... ensure peace, tranquillity and harmony."

And surely at the SMC meeting in Banjul just two months after its formal creation by the summit held earlier in the same city, Nigeria and the four other members, operating under the mandate of the Authority, decided on the setting up of ECOMOG. The five SMC members were designated to provide the initial members of the intervention force along with non-members and two of Liberia’s neighbors, Sierra and Guinea. Appeals were later sent out to all ECOWAS members to contribute troops. In her summary of the May 1990 unprecedented decisions taken by the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State through the SMC, Ero summarizes their positions calling for:

1. The parties to observe an immediate cease-fire;

2. An ECOWAS cease-fire monitoring group (ECOMOG) to be set up for the purpose of keeping the peace, and restoring law and order and ensuring respect for the cease-fire;

3. A broad-based interim government in Liberia set up through a National Conference of political parties and other interest groups;

4. Free and fair elections within 12 months leading to the establishment of a democratically elected government;

5. The exclusion of all leaders of the various warring factions to the Liberian conflict from the Interim Government; and

6. The creation of a Special Emergency Fund for the ECOMOG operation in Liberia.

The decisions were to generate mounting controversy as it gave hope for Liberia, a country that had seen all other countries, except Ethiopia, become independent on the African continent. For the majority of Liberians, any intervention was timely. In their eyes, ECOWAS had stepped up to the task of collective responsibility to save their lives when they were being turned away by US marines evacuating Americans from the embassy grounds in Monrovia. At that point, the choice of leadership had to be a suspended matter for Liberians. The Doe Administration had lost control over the country, and Taylor’s NPFL, hampered by the fight with its breakaway INPFL, and could not take the capital.

Walraven, in his analysis of the legal references used by the SMC, characterized the initial decision of the SMC to establish ECOMOG as ultra virus (without the effect of law). He argues that it is the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and not the Standing Mediation Committee that should have authorized the deployment of ECOMOG. He holds that specific institutions like the Defense Commission and the Defense Council required by the 1981 Defense Protocol to handle military matters such as Liberia’s, had not been set up, further rendering the SMC decision unlawful. The author enthusiastically agreed with Taylor’s Francophonie supporters - Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso - that ECOMOG was interfering with the internal affairs of another state.

Walraven, while advancing thoughtful areas for legal inquiry, may have undermined his argument first by siding with supporters of Taylor whose membership of not more than five in the 15-member organization was seen as a protest from a minority group of sponsors of one of the parties to the conflict. Second, the non-existence of the Defense Commission and the Defense Council were creatures of a higher body, the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State, which, by implication, stated that it could carry out its work in armed conflict situations through the defense commission and the defense council mentioned by Walraven. Where it has been agreed in protocols that subordinate working groups be set up to facilitate the work of its creator, and that through a collective act of the totality of its membership the organization has not set up its subgroups, the implementation of a critical task by superior organ, the SMC in this instance, cannot be considered absolutely illegal due to the non-existence of complimentary units.

Walvren himself says a sub-committee on Defense within the SMC designed the plan for ECOMOG. In the absence of the formal creation of the Defense Council and Defense Commission, it did not appear that collective negligence should have been further extended to a callous disregard for the integrity of a member state slowly disintegrating in armed conflict.

Third, the Standing Mediation Committee was set up as a permanent organ of ECOWAS nine years after the 1981 Defense Protocol requiring the Authority to take decisions in these matters. The SMC was to be headed by the Chairman of ECOWAS, and its mandate clearly was to find ways of ending the destruction in conflicts like the Liberian civil war and then maintain law and order. It is understandable that an organ of the community headed by the leader of the community itself will take decisions on behalf of the rest of the group, particularly if it had been broadly empowered to do so, and the security of life and property is at grave risk.

ECOWAS, Doe and the Transition of Power

Decisions of the Standing Mediation Committee remained the key guidelines, and the decisions were legally and diplomatically unacceptable to Taylor’s supporters like Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast, it also presented a dilemma for President Doe. Two key SMC presented a challenge to Doe: 1) the establishment of an intervention force and 2) the convening of a conference to form an interim administration. Doe had worked and looked forward for help to salvage his government – a military presence from his colleagues -, which was now coming in the form of ECOMOG. But the ‘help’ seemed to have arrived when the only practical use Doe had for it was to have him literally taken out of the country to save his life. As indicated earlier, getting him out of the country was a plan contemplated by the US State Department and rejected by the White House early 1990, according to former Assistant Secretary of State Herman Cohen.

More troubling for Doe was the SMC declaration that a conference would be held among Liberian political parties and civil society groups to formulate an interim government of national unity that would lead the country to fresh elections within twelve months, a period that would have coincided with the end of President Doe’s six-year term. Doe was nevertheless counting on the goodwill of Nigeria to ensure that the Interim government mentioned would be only an expansion of his government. He drew some comfort from the SMC declaration supra that none of the leaders of the warring factions would be head of the Interim Government. Besides, Doe believed even in those dying minutes he could pull of a diplomatic or military gain and hold on to power.

Not ‘Collaborating’ With Doe

Instead of expressing publicly expressing apprehension about the SMC decision, Doe dispatched a letter to the SMC stating that indeed “it would seem most expedient at this time to introduce an ECOWAS Peace-keeping Force into Liberia to forestall increasing terror and tension and to assure a peaceful transitional environment.” Doe’s letter seems to have left little room for misinterpretation. He had taken the political and diplomatic offensive, actually preaching the virtues of the anticipated deployment. He was hinting that he had accepted the transitional government idea as well, without showing that he was not assuming he would head it. After all, the ECOWAS had certainly excluded the possibility of Taylor, a warring faction leader, heading the interim administration. Even when Amos Sawyer was selected as Interim President at the Banjul meeting of mixed Liberian groups, Doe did not give any signal of having been replaced.

There has been no confirmation that the SMC was consulting with Doe in taking the sweeping measures, including the decision to set up an interim government. The 1981 Defense Protocol required that, “In this case [decision to intervene in the internal conflict of a member state] the Authority shall appreciate and decide on this situation in full collaboration with the Authority of the Member State or States concerned.” Doe assumed that his July letter would have been the instrument to illustrate that ECOWAS still recognized him as President, probably one reason for his fatal trip to ECOMOG headquarters at the Freeport of Monrovia on September 9, 1990.

When ECOMOG spent nearly a week in Monrovia without officially contacting him, Doe risked leaving his Mansion garrison to visit the intervention forces’ temporary headquarters at the Freeport of Monrovia to query the commander about not contacting him upon arrival. While chatting with the Ghanaian Field Commander of ECOMOG, the Ghanaian Lt. Gen. Arnold Quainoo, Doe was attacked, captured and subsequently tortured to death by Prince Johnson and his INPFL militias. Johnson and his men had welcomed ECOMOG when they entered the seaport area under NPFL gunfire, and he was considered by the peacekeepers as an unofficial collaborator.

Quainoo’s refusal to report to Doe upon arrival in Monrovia was not an oversight. Quianoo said ECOWAS Executive Secretary told him not to take sides with either the government or the NPFL. “You are going there to protect the life and properties of the people, not to protect the life of Doe,” Quainoo quoted Bundu. This gave reasons for cynics to conclude that the Bundu statement was a feature in the events surrounding the death of Doe at the ECOMOG headquarters.

The legitimacy of the Doe administration had remained a controversy even among ordinary soldiers of ECOMOG. Quainoo said before they left Freetown for Monrovia, his soldiers listened to Taylor on the BBC talking about how they would be massacred if they ever went to Monrovia. This angered the soldiers who began to ask why they were not going in to support the Government of the day, which was the Doe regime. Quainoo quoted some of the ECOMOG soldiers as saying in Freetown: “All armies support the government of the day. Doe was the government of the day. We have no right to go and select a government for Liberia. So the question we are asking is why don’t we support the President of Liberia.” The General said back in Ghana before his departure, Ghanaian soldiers assigned with him said they saw the military operation in two ways: either support Doe to remain in power, or support Taylor. They could not understand the demand that they be neutral between the two sides.

There have been other accounts on the motive of the trip to the ECOMOG headquarters. One account says either the Nigerians or Americans had arranged with Doe to get him out of the country. Another account points to a conspiracy between Quainoo, the American Embassy and Johnson to get rid of Doe since he was refusing to resign and leave. Cohen’s statement supra that the White House never approved of a rescue plan for Doe ruled out the account that the Americans were trying to smuggle him out. It has never been established either that the Nigerians, who were second in command in ECOMOG at the time, had plans on that day to get Doe out. Neither has the conspiracy theory involving the Americans, Quainoo and Prince Johnson ever been verified.

What is cogent though is the short meetings reportedly held on the same day among representatives of the INPFL, ECOMOG and Selley Thompson, the official spokesman for Doe. In his eyewitness account, James Youboty says INPFL rebels were shouting in the vicinity of the Freeport that people would “hear good news by 2 o’clock this afternoon.” Youboty explains that Thompson arrived shortly telling President Doe that he had arranged the meeting with Quainoo. Youboty said Doe quickly left the Executive Mansion for the Freeport without his usual heavy escort, with people booing and cheering him at the same time. After Doe’s arrival, a Ghanaian ECOMOG soldier stopped his military escorts and assured them that they no longer needed their arms as they were under the peacekeepers’ protection. In a matter of minutes, Youboty explains, Johnson arrived with his men, fully armed, shouting, “Doe must die today.” The INPFL began shooting and subsequently disabled and snatched away Doe from Quainoo’s office for the rebel base in nearby Caldwell where he was tortured to death.

The death of Doe threatened the esprit-de-corps in the hierarchy of ECOMOG and brought swift reaction from Abuja and Conakry, though it was evident that the two governments had already given up on a Doe leadership in Liberia. The Nigerians launched what amounted to an internal leadership among the peacekeepers, immediately taking over the command of ECOMOG in person of Maj. General Joshua Dongoyaro, a prominent officer in the Nigerian Armed Forces. Their men were not in the area during the Prince Johnson episode, volleys of artillery soon rang out against Johnson and his men from a Nigerian gunboat moving into the port.

President Conte withdrew Brigadier Magasuba, who was with Quainoo and Doe during the Freeport meeting. When the Guinean officer presented Doe’s glasses and his stave to Conte, the President dishonorably discharged the general from the army and banned him from living in any part of Guinea besides his home village. The actions from the two capitals demonstrated the extent of the close relations Babangida and Conte maintained with Doe.

Even more critical was what appeared to have been a political split in ECOWAS. Its Executive Secretary General, Abbas Bundu, was reported to have said on BBC radio that the demise of Doe was a welcomed event as it made the peace plan easier to implement. Chairman Jawara’s spokesperson withdrew a similar statement that had earlier been attributed to the Gambian leader on the same radio program.

The multiple contradictions that had characterized individual ECOWAS member states’ reaction to the outbreak of the war had come full cycle, showing in unexpected places like the secretariat of the community, which was operating in the capital of Nigeria, proven friend of Doe. NPFL supporters Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso had from the onset rejected the decision of sending in ECOMOG on grounds identical to what Taylor said: the peacekeepers would support Doe. Now the drama had unfolded with Doe being killed at the ECOMOG base with no resistance or interference from the group that was supposed to be his partners. Among other things, it is the search for reasons to the strange behavior of ECOMOG upon arrival that led Doe to his death on their doorsteps.

Enforcement and the Road Ahead

Several meetings were going on to effect a cease-fire, which ECOMOG was supposed to monitor, but then in the ECOWAS consultations with FC Quainoo, the multilateral force was supposed to secure Monrovia, already the object of fierce military contest between the government, the NPFL and the INPFL. It was obvious that ECOMOG was coming in as a peace enforcement group from the onset. It was more than implications when Bundu ordered the high command to protect life and property. In the words of Quainoo, Taylor was on international radio regularly informing the peacekeepers of their fatal fate if they ever set foot on Liberian soil. Whether it was war propaganda, the intensity of the belligerency around Monrovia was sufficient to show that Taylor was not joking. The West African troops remained militarily engaged with the NPFL even while they facilitated the seating of the Interim Government of National Unity (IGNU) headed by Amos Sawyer.

By October 1992, following several failed meetings in Mali and Togo among the parties, the NPFL had decided to launch its major offensive and take over Monrovia, ending in failure but demonstrating that by necessity, ECOMOG could not play a neutral role, an observation the Ghanaian foot soldiers had intimated to their commander in Ghana before heading for Liberia. The SMC in its final communiqué on the functions of ECOMOG made it clear that the force would keep the peace, restore law and order and ensure that the anticipated cease-fire would be respected.

The novel move undertaken by an otherwise multilateral economic integration organization to commit financial and military resources to a conflict that in many ways was fueled by couple of its key members signaled a necessarily complex road ahead. The level of non-cooperation would only be exacerbated by the fact that the diplomatic variables were not confined to the sub-region, as evident by the involvement of Libya with the NPFL, and the tacit support given through French political and commercial relations with not only the NPFL West African sponsors – Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast – but with the NPFL itself as explained above.

The revenue from Taylor’s massive business activities beyond Africa were bound to turn him into a formidable force against the peacekeepers, who evidently were determined to hold to their original interpretation of remaining neutral – not supporting Doe nor Taylor. The NPFL leader even set up a rival government and designated Gbarnga, his headquarters in central Liberia as the capital. This was his way of legitimizing his deals with the outside world as well as demonstrating that the Sawyer interim government in Monrovia was nothing but a caricature with no territory or resources to control. Taylor was often on his radio referring to Sawyer and his officials as ‘cockroaches.’

Enforcement Woes

Taylor’s strength had remained at least undiminished and posed an embarrassing challenge to Nigeria and the rest of the ECOMOG contributing countries up to the reluctant departure of Babangida from his country’s leadership in 1993. Nigerian jets and artillery in operation deployed for more than two years, and Taylor was still visible. Fatigue in the field and in diplomatic quarters had earlier caused the Francophone ECOWAS members to begin adjusting their strategy and give a more leading role in the peace process to the Ivory Coast, the chief Taylor patron. The four agreements named after the Ivorian City of Yamoussoukro attempted to include Taylor in the Monrovia power-sharing arrangement, but the NPFL’s insistence on heading the transitional government created obstacles.

Even the Americans once again came in through the unofficial secondment of Former President Jimmy Carter, who was largely seen as sympathetic to Taylor. He accused the peacekeepers of not being neutral, meaning they should stop fighting the NPFL. The United States lured Senegal into providing a battalion of their elite soldiers to join the peacekeeping to enhance an image of neutrality. Taylor told US officials that he believed in the impartiality of the Senegalese, another French-speaking but cleared of direct collaboration with any side in the conflict. Taylor told US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Herman Cohen, that he was comfortable enough with the Senegalese to disarm and fully cooperate with the peace process.

It didn’t take long for this arrangement too to collapse. According to Cohen, Taylor showed distrust and “at one point, when the Senegalese were playing the game where they were trying to move slowly at the rate that Charles Taylor was indicating he could accept, slowly moving into Charles Taylor's territory, [they] discovered an arms depot which should [have been] dismantled, and seven of their troops were deliberately murdered by the NPFL.” The Senegalese declared themselves unqualified to serve as peacekeepers, and left. Troops also came from Tanzania and Uganda to deal with the NPFL’s constant claims of being singled out for destruction. They too eventually left due to the intransigence of the NPFL.

With the infusion of news groups into ECOMOG and the lull in battle with the NPFL, the force intermittently appeared to have adopted a peacekeeping posture. Even the two Nigerian Field Commanders coming immediately after the no-nonsense Dongoyaro actually paid visits to Gbarnga as part of the “confidence-building mode” that combat exhaustion had imposed on ECOMOG. The peace process had turned into a political, diplomatic and military impasse.

The “Resistance” Movements

The entry of the NPFL-backed RUF into Sierra Leone targeting both Liberians and Sierra Leoneans, along with the prolonging of the war served as primary factors in the emergence of new warring factions, all of them anti-Taylor. Between 1991 and 1993, the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO) had infiltrated Western Liberia from Sierra Leone where it was fighting alongside government soldiers against the RUF. As the ECOWAS peace conference in the Benin capital of Cotonou convened as part of the effort to get the NPFL comply with the Yamoussoukro Agreements, ULIMO had to be accommodated. It had driven Taylor away from Lofa County, the country’s largest, and pushed the NPFL completely away from the Sierra Leone border.

The NPFL used the new faction addition as an official reason to pursue its struggle for the Mansion. But in real terms there was actually no increase in the number of factions, as the INPFL became defunct following the 1992 NPFL massive offensive on Monrovia. ECOMOG invited ULIMO some 60 miles away to help out. The NPFL was carrying on a combination of heavy conventional and guerilla warfare, and the ECOMOG thought the ULIMO presence would be useful. The resistance group moved in to help ECOMOG and remnants of the Armed Forces of Liberia push back the rebels. ECOMOG found it militarily advantageous to let Liberians confront Taylor, though this did not fully translate into permanent peace. By 1997 the year of the national elections, at least eight warring factions existed. Except where they had skirmishes with each other, their target was the NPFL.

Some Lessons

The diplomatic and military intervention of the Economic Community of West African States in the internal armed conflict of Liberia exposed a number of realities that should be useful in determining and structuring future intervention efforts in West Africa.

First, the nature of internal conflicts that rapidly turn into anarchy with enormous humanitarian implications increasingly requires that intervention forces begin as peace enforcement operations. Peacekeeping normally connotes there is peace – cessation of military hostilities - that is to be maintained and monitored by the peacekeepers. ECOMOG and its authorities knew that the NPFL rebels were ready to resist their entrance into Liberia and that was publicized abundantly. And when the ECOMOG troops arrived, it was fierce battle from the start. ECOWAS had given the mandate to its forces to restore law and order, which meant engaging in war if those creating the disorder were a military force prepared to challenge the peacekeepers. If on the other hand belligerent activities had stopped and there was now left the need to put criminal activities and lawlessness under control, the same mandate would have applied. It is necessary that the mandate of a multinational military mission be one of clarity and not be subject to multiple interpretations. The circumstances of the conflict ought to be assessed and the required mandate sufficiently explained to the high command and regulars of the peacekeeping force.

Second, the wealth and military capability of Nigeria allowed it to set the pace for the multilateral intervention. It received praises for relatively containing the war, but where it considered certain actions were in its national or other interest, it made bold moves that did not necessarily meet the consent of other participants. This affected the cohesion of the force and at some stages impacted the pace at which the peace process advanced. Under the circumstances, thus, where the United Nations recognized ECOWAS as the proper sub-regional body to deal with the Liberian crisis, the international community through the UN should provide the necessary financial and other resources for the entire peacekeeping operation. A skewed financial burden among the participating countries is likely to create room for disproportionate dominance.

Third, ECOWAS should prioritize its economic objectives, notwithstanding its relative success in conflict resolution. Economic deprivation lies at the bottom of most of the upheavals warranting intervention. Negative competition between English-speaking and French-speaking blocs should be eliminated in favor of practical economic and cultural integration programs that will generate wealth and build a strong West African economic middle class. Civil society organizations should make independent collaborating moves that will pressure governments of ECOWAS member states to turn to conflict prevention by pursuing productive economic and human rights policies.

In all of this, it must be noted that the role of sub-regional bodies such as ECOWAS in assuming the risk to come to the aid of the citizenry of a fellow member state is a fundamental test for cooperation among states. ECOWAS member states were filled with anxiety over whether to intervene in the Liberian conflict individually based on their disposition towards the Doe government in Monrovia. Others too, due to their connection with the rebels, stood accused of not lending a helping hand. From the onset, ECOWAS faced the pressure of these contradictions, and yet mustered the legal and diplomatic wherewithal to intercede collectively. More than one thousand West African soldiers died and several thousand more got wounded, in the cause of trying to save the lives of people from another country. ECOWAS’ decision to intervene in Liberia, as controversial as it was among some of it members, demonstrated that sub-regions were prepared to assume their responsibilities on behalf of the international system. United Nations endorsement and supportive involvement later confirmed the partnership that must be further cultivated to make the external reaction time to conflicts bearable.

The Liberian experience clearly demonstrated the need to contain internal armed conflicts, for they have the real possibility of causing havoc for the contiguous countries and beyond. From Liberia, rebel activities arrested the economic growth of Guinea, Sierra Leone and now the Ivory Coast, whose late leader encouraged the rebellion. Formerly considered as the capital of West Africa, the Ivory Coast today remains literally partitioned between the government and rebels. New mechanisms must be developed to deal with dictatorship, corruption and political marginalization that serve as some of the root causes for rebellion.

And finally, the ECOWAS experience and its many critiques should be the impetus for the upgrading of the structures and sub-institutions that would enable the organization become more responsive to its own needs. Its involvement in Liberia, though of the highest quality, generated sufficient controversy to indicate that there was need for updating to conform with its expected obligations under international law and legitimate sub-regional practices. Its legal instruments must be strengthened from the lessons of its Liberian experience.

1. ECOWAS members are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. Founding Member Mauritania withdrew.

2. ECOMOG is acronym for Economic Community of West African States Cease-fire Monitoring Group.

3. The National Patriotic Front of Liberia led by Charles Taylor invaded the country in 1989 with the aim of overthrowing President Samuel K. Doe.

4. Doe was the army sergeant who overthrew the government of William R. Tolbert, ending 133 years of minority rule by Black Americans who went to Africa and declared the independence off Liberia in 1847.

5. Taylor was Director General of the General Services Agency under President Doe; fled to the US, arrested there under extradition for embezzlement charges back home. He escaped and organized the war.

6. The constituting of an interim government in Banjul while Doe was alive prompted a series of confrontation involving Doe’s supporters and other parties. Details to be discussed sections ahead.

7. Houphouet-Boigny, considered doyen of French speaking West Africa, had sway over his colleagues up to his death in 1993. His foster daughter, Daisy Delafosse, married Tolbert’s son, Adolphus Benedict.

8. Houphouet-Boigny’s foster daughter, Daisy Delafosse, was married to A.B. Tolbert, Pres. Tolbert’s son.

9. Liberia has only about 200,000 Gios (Dan) as compared to its neighbor’s 800,000 Yacoubas, as they are called in the Ivory Coast’s Prefectures of Man, Danané, Biankouma and Touba. In Geopolitical Tracks of the Mandingoes, Alhaji Kromah, The Liberian Orbit, 2002, citing

10. Descendants of Black Americans who returned to Africa in the 1820’s.

11. Disclosed in Interview with Prince Johnson with this author in Nigeria, March 2003.

12. Ibid.

13. Fountain, Rick. Secret Papers Reveal Biafra Intrigue, January 2000, BBC London. 07-14-03<>

14.  Lewis, Anthony. France And Taylor's "Presidential Pepperbush," June 2001 Global Policy Forum, 08-09-03 <>

15. Ibid.

16. The story narrated to the author by a senior bodyguard of Doe who attended the conference.

17. Background To The Sierra Leone Civil War, ISierra Leone (Facts, History,), 07-12-03. <>

18. Earl and Shireen Kadivr, Sierra Leone’s Response to ECOMOG, In Peacekeeping in Africa, (eds.). Karl P. Magya and Earl Conteh-Morgan, New York, 1998. P. 140

19. Ibid.

20. The author was the special envoy sent to Conte. Doe told me he was surprised that Conte had not earlier understood him, while Conte on the other hand told me he understood Doe to be capable of putting things under control.

21. Mays, Terry. Nigerian Foreign Policy and Its Participation in ECOMOG, in Peacekeeping in Africa, ECOMOG in Liberia, Karl Magyar and Earl Conteh-Morgan (eds.), New York. 1998. P 108.

22. President Doe and invited officials, including the author, were completing a master’s program at the Executive Mansion session of the school when the war broke out. Doe already had a BA from UL.

23. Mays, Terry. Nigerian Foreign Policy and Its Participation in ECOMOG, in Peacekeeping in Africa, ECOMOG in Liberia, Karl Magyar and Earl Conteh-Morgan (eds), New York. 1998. P 107.

24. Ibid. p 109.

25.  ECOMOG: peacekeeper or participant?, 1998, BBC Africa. 08-14-03. <>

26. Ero, Comfort. ECOWAS and the Subregional Peacekeeping in Liberia, Posted: 3 June 2000

27. Cohen, in an interview with Nancee Oku Bright for PBS, Clips & Interviews. 07-11-03 <>

28. Ibid.

29. Ibid.

30. Ibid.

31. Ibid.

32. Doe made these comments to his fellow students, including the author.

33. OAU Charter, Article III, Section, found at>

34. UN Charter, Chapter VII, Article 51, UN web site at

35. United Nations Operation in the Congo, ONUC (1960 – 1964). Information Technology Section/ Department of Public Information (DPI). United Nations 2001

36. ECOWAS History and Present Status, South African Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pretoria. 08-15-03 <>; Tubman was also one of the “founding fathers” of the OAU; Died in 1971 after 27 years of dictatorship.

37. ECOWAS Protocol Relating to Mutual Assistance of Defence, Article 2. Adopted May 1981. Posted by the Africa Institute for Security Studies.

38. Ibid. 4,b.

39. Department Fact Sheet, The Economic Community of West African States. July 2001 Bureau of Political-Military Affairs 08-19-03<>

40. Ibid. Article 2 &3

41. H. Howe, Lessons of Liberia: ECOMOG and Regional Peacekeeping, in International Security, Winter 996, November 1992, cited in The Pretence of Peacekeeping, ECOMOG, West Africa and Liberia (1990-1998), Klaas Van Walraven, Netherlands Institute of International Relations. Hague (1999) p. 15.

42. Ibid.

43. Quoted in, "Coercive Diplomacy and the Third World: Africa After the Cold War," Clement E. Adibe. Paper presented to the Workshop on Coercive Diplomacy, King's College London, 7-9 June 1995, p.14. Cited in Tuck, Christopher. 2000. "Every Car or Moving Object Gone". The ECOMOG Intervention in Liberia. 4(1): 1. [online] URL:

44. Ero, Comfort. ECOWAS and Subregional Peacekeeping in Liberia, June 2000, citing Decision A/DEC.1/8/90, Document 50, p. 67-69; Decision A/Dec.2/8/90, Document 51, p. 69-70; Decision A/Dec.3/8/90, Document 52, p. 70-71 and Decision A/Dec.4/8/90, Document 53, p. 71-72, Weller, M., Regional Peace-keeping and International Enforcement

45. Klaas Van Walraven, The Pretence of Peacekeeping – ECOMOG, Africa & Liberia: 1990-1998, Netherlands Institute of International Relations, Hague, 1999, pp. 36.

46. Doe intimated to the author that he looked forward to the formation of a militia group involving the author to resist the NPFL, in addition to possibility that the proposed peacekeepers would back him as well.

47. Letter addressed by President. Doe to the Chairman and Members of the Ministerial Meeting of ECOWAS Standing Mediation Committee, 14 July 1990, Document 39, Weller, M., Regional Peace-keeping and International Enforcement, p. 61. In Ero, Comfort, ECOWAS and Subregional Peacekeeping in Liberia, The Journal of Humanitarian Assistance, June 2000, < >

48. ECOWAS Protocol Relating to Mutual Assistance of Defence, Article 4,b. Adopted May 1981. Posted by the Africa Institute for Security Studies.

49. In interview conducted with Quainoo by this author in Accra, Ghana August 1999

50. Ibid.

51. Ibid.

52. James Youboty, Liberian Civil War, A Graphic Account, (Philadelphia: Parkside Impressions Enterprises,1993), p.403

53. Ibid. p. 405

54. Ibid.

55. Ibid. 409

56. Ibid.

57. Cohen, in an interview with Nancee Oku Bright for PBS, Clips & Interviews. 07-11-03 <>

58. Ibid.