The Cannibals’ War – Liberia



Aug 1996 As the trial of former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor begins, we bring back an exclusive report exposing the atrocities committed by Taylor’s men. Filmed in the middle of the civil war, it includes footage of Taylor’s supporters preparing to eat a human heart and a rare interview with Taylor. Our film opens with gigantic US military helicopters hovering over Monrovia. The crackle of Kalashnikovs, ‘Liberian music’, echoes around the empty streets. This is a city with no laws of humanity as we know them. We discover a band of teenage NPFL fighters at a roadblock. Dead bodies lie at their feet, their chests sliced open from top to bottom, in the style of an African voodoo sacrifice. A boy brandishes a bucket, from which he proudly pulls a human heart. ‘If I find my enemy I eat him’, he boasts. ‘But I only eat military men, not civilians. I am a human being after all.’ Some fighters believe that by eating an enemy you get his power. Charles Taylor sums up: ‘We have heard of outright cannibalism but this is an issue of war. There is no civilised war. Death is death.’ For now the peace is holding. The UN are disarming troops on the streets. The market in Monrovia is full of people once again. But many think that Liberia’s young cannibals have gone too far: a doctor prophesies disaster when they become the future leaders.


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