Taylor's Aide-de-camp Arrested, Government Denies Coup Attempt

The Perspective

December 18, 2001

As government forces battle dissidents in Northwestern Liberia, Monrovia is replete with rumors of a coup attempt to overthrow the Taylor regime. According to the unconfirmed information, several members of Taylor’s dreaded Anti-Terrorist Unit (ATU) and some opposition politicians have been rounded up.

Though President Taylor denied that there was a coup attempt, he told visiting Malian leader, President Alpha Oumar Konare, that “There are attempts being hatched to see if an assassination attempt can be carried out against my person… We know because we have received information from the United States that some people are collecting money to pay individuals to carry this out.”

Mr. Taylor stated that the plan “hatched” by those residing in the United States to assassinate him has not materialized "because our men in arms remain loyal to the State and our leadership, they will always receive the money and eat it." Mr. Taylor did not name the individuals who are raising money in the United to hire people to assassinate him.

But his Information Minister confirmed on BBC that one Gen. Jang has been picked up for questioning. He did not say why the General was being questioned. Mr. Goodridge, however, denied that there were ATU and opposition leaders under arrest in connection with the rumored coup attempt. He said that such coup rumors were common during the Christmas and Independent Day seasons.

Last week, an opposition leader was accused by a member of Taylor’s rubberstamp legislature of raising funds to bankroll dissidents in the Northwest Liberia. However, the allegation was denied by supporters of the opposition leader.

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