The transcripts of the trial of Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia. More…

Let's pick it up in the third sentence:

"In view of the serious developments in the country since that time, I have decided to submit the present report which contains updated information and revised observations and recommendations.

Military and security developments: On 17 December 1998, the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group opened an attack aimed at Kailahun District in the eastern province, an important rebel base and supply point. However, the ECOMOG attack achieved only limited progress. The south of the country, including Bo, the second largest city, remained calm.

Starting on 18 December 1998, the military and security situation in Sierra Leone took a sharply unfavourable turn. A strong rebel attack on Koidu in the eastern province obliged ECOMOG to fall back, eventually as far as Magburaka in the centre of the country, while sustaining heavy casualties from ambushes along the route.

On 22 December, a third group of rebels in the Western Area attacked Waterloo, about 20 miles from Freetown on the road connecting the capital with the rest of the country. The attack resulted in heavy casualties among civilians and the looting and destruction of property and sent thousands of people fleeing towards Freetown.

In response to these developments, on 23 December 1998, United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone withdrew the seven United Nations military observers who had been deployed there since August from Makeni to Lungi along with some of their equipment. National staff of the World Food Programme were also relocated from Makeni to Freetown on the same day. Three United Nations military observers who had been sent to Daru in connection with the ECOMOG advance against Kailahun were also withdrawn to Kenema.

Tension continued to rise in Freetown in anticipation of a possible rebel attack. A rebel leader, Sam Bockarie, threatened to launch an assault on the capital around the New Year unless the government released the leader of the Revolutionary United Front, Corporal Foday Sankoh."

Pause there. Mr Taylor, were you aware of such an announcement by Sam Bockarie?

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