AROUND AFRICA: Charles Taylor Sentenced, Private Anti-Pirate Patrols

May 30, 2012 at 11:58 pm Leave a comment

Warlord Sentenced

An international court has sentenced former Liberian strongman Charles Taylor to 50 years in prison for orchestrating atrocities during the horrific civil war in neighboring Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone (Map from CIA World Factbook)

Taylor, the 64-year-old former president of Liberia, was convicted April 27 of aiding, abetting and planning “some of the most heinous and brutal crimes recorded in human history,” according the presiding judge at the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands.

It is the first time a head of state has been convicted and sentenced on such charges since the Nuremberg war crimes trials after World War II, the New York Times reported.

During the 10-year Sierra Leone civil war thousands of people were killed, raped, mutilated or kidnapped and forced to be soldiers or sex slaves. The international court is barred from imposing a sentence of life in prison or death. Taylor still has many followers in Liberia.

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Counter-Piracy Measure

A private company based in the UAE plans to outfit three boats to patrol the pirate infested waters off the Horn of Africa, the BBC reported.

Map courtesy of University of Pennsylvania African Studies Center

The company, Typhon, plans to man each of the patrol boats – now being outfitted in Singapore – with a complement of 40 former British Royal Marines and a crew of 20.

The boats, which will be contracted to protect cargo ships plying the Western Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden, will also be armed with machine guns. The security officers will have rifles.

Unlike some 25 naval vessels patroling the pirate zone, the Typhon boats will assigned to protect specific boats instead of patrolling a vast area of seas.

Currently, eight vessels and 235 crew members are being held by pirates.

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Entry filed under: Africa, International Crime, Naval Warfare, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: , , , , .

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