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Guinea Gives Liberia Rebel Leader

August 25, 1999

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) _ Guinea has handed over to Liberia a suspected commander of rebels who have been fighting Liberian troops, officials said Tuesday.

The rebel commander, an unidentified Liberian national, was captured by Guinean soldiers along the border between the two west African countries, a Liberian defense official said on condition of anonymity.

The man was handed over Monday and taken to Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, the official said.

Two weeks ago, a group of insurgents, reportedly crossing from neighboring Guinea, launched a series of attacks in Liberia’s northern Lofa county.

The Liberian government says it has regained control over most of the county, though there is still sporadic shooting in the area.

Government accounts of the fighting cannot be independently confirmed. Local and foreign journalists have not been given state permission to visit the area.

Exactly who the Liberian insurgents are remains unclear. The captured commander said they include forces loyal to several warlords who fought President Charles Taylor _ a former warlord himself _ during Liberia’s seven-year civil war, according to the defense official. That fighting ended in 1996.

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