Liberian Civil Wars (1989 - 1997) (1999 - 2005)

In 1989, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) attacked border posts as part of a campaign to oust the dictatorship of Samuel Doe. This triggered a violent civil war that by 1995 had killed around 150,000 and displaced an estimated 850,000 people. The outbreak of war is attributed to the domestic socio-economic and political environment in the country of the 1980s, such as poverty, discrimination and repression. However, its sustenance is also related to past discrimination against indigenous Liberians by ‘Americo-Liberians’, and deep ethnic divisions that resulted.

Peace negotiations began in 1992 and completed by 1997. However, the peace lasted only a short period and in 1999 there was renewed fighting against the elected president, Charles Taylor. The Guinea-backed organisation, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), together with the armed Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL) controlled two thirds of the country by 2003 and besieged the capital Monrovia, forcing Charles Taylor into exile in Nigeria. In August that same year, the conflict parties signed the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement and in 2005 new general elections were held.

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