Where is Gen. Guei?
November 13, 2000
As Ivorians mourn over 500 people killed during election violence weeks ago, the whereabouts of Gen. Robert Guei is still unclear. But there are indications that the ousted military dictator may be in Liberia.
"Gen. Guei shuttles between Monrovia and Danane on the border. He lives in the towns of Bin Houye and Zohn Houen near the border with Liberia," a highly placed source in Monrovia said.
Abidjan sources allege that Taylor's recent visit to Nigeria, was, among other reasons, to convince President Olusogun Obasanjo to grant Guei political asylum in Nigeria. Obansanjo, who was taken aback by Taylor's abrupt visit, compelling him to cancel the presentation of his national budget to the Nigerian Parliament, reportedly rejected the plea. "Obasanjo told him to take him [Guei] where he took him from," the source said.
Following Guei's departure, the London Times and several media institutions reported he was in Liberia or Benin. Members of his family were seen in Benin after he fled amidst chaos.
"He [Taylor] came here begging for forgiveness for the backing he gave Guei. His mercenaries are still in jail here. He is changing his song and begging for strong ties with Gbagbo at the behest of the French who backed Gbagbo's bid for the presidency. He [Taylor] is promising heaven and earth all over, the source says.
"As he pledges support to Gbagbo, but he is stuck with Guei", the Abidjan source added. An indication of Guei's being in Liberia came when Taylor recently announced that he was rejecting Guei's request for political asylum in Liberia. From where did the ousted General make the request was not revealed, but Taylor said he rejected the request to promote regional security.
"Gen Guei was picked up by helicopter and flown from the border area", our source added.
Meanwhile, the French are said to be mending links between Taylor and Laurent Gbagbo, the new Ivorian leader, in the wake of allegations that Guei-backed Liberian mercenaries played key role in defending the General when he declared himself winner of the controversial elections.
Sources in Abidjan say although Taylor had chartered a Swiss Air flight to take him to Abuja on recent visit, the French persuaded Gbagbo to make his presidential plane available for Taylor.
Meanwhile, Gen. Guei resurfaced in Yamoussoukro where he had a meeting with President Gbagbo.