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Liberian Rebels Display Doe's Body, Reports Say

September 11, 1990|From Times Wire Services

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — Liberian President Samuel K. Doe was killed by Prince Johnson's rebels and his bullet-riddled body displayed at their camp outside Monrovia, news and government reports said Monday.

Witnesses returning to the city center told the British Broadcasting Corp. that Doe died in a rebel camp where he was taken Sunday after he was wounded and captured by rebel forces in a fierce gun battle in the capital of his war-torn West African nation.

Witnesses said Doe's body had been exhibited on Bushrod Island, the city suburb that Johnson has controlled since attacking Monrovia two months ago.

Doe was shot in both legs during the battle, but arrived at Johnson's headquarters alive, they said. It was not clear whether he was shot again later or died from the wounds he had already received.

On Sunday, breakaway rebel leader Johnson named himself president until elections can be held. Shortly after Doe's capture, however, loyalists named a successor to the former Liberian leader.

And Liberia's main rebel group, the National Patriotic Front led by Charles Taylor, said Monday that it would continue fighting, dashing hopes for an early end to the 8 1/2-month-old civil war that has left more than 5,000 civilians dead.

BBC correspondent Elizabeth Blunt, who was in Monrovia, said it was impossible to confirm the witnesses' reports of Doe's death but they were "almost certainly true."

In Washington, a senior State Department official said: "We have been informed by various parties, including the rebels, that President Doe died of gunshot wounds suffered in a shoot-out over the weekend."

Doe was seized Sunday by forces loyal to Johnson in Monrovia after a firefight at the headquarters of a 3,000-strong West African peacekeeping force that has been trying to resolve the civil war that erupted in December.

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