Monday, April 17, 2006


Weah's diplomatic papers 'seized'

Mr Weah appeared to accept the new government last week. The party of Liberian football star George Weah has complained of a "witch-hunt" after his diplomatic passport was seized at the airport. Mr Weah was "bundled off" a plane by security agents, said the party's Secretary General Eugene Nagbe. Mr Weah came second in last year's polls but says he was cheated out of victory. Observers rejected his claims. The government says it is investigating the incident and denies issuing an order to seize Mr Weah's passport. Mr Weah, 1995 world footballer of the year, was appointed Liberia's "sports ambassador" in the 1990s and given a diplomatic passport.

The government of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who took office in January, says it has launched an investigation into who is using diplomatic travel documents but said the reported seizure of Mr Weah's passport was against "the spirit of political unity and reconciliation".

Guide to Liberia and its recent turbulent history.

Mr Weah and Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf met last week in order to ease tensions after last year;s bitter election campaign, which followed 14 years of civil war. "I told the president that I wish for her a good government that will satisfy the many needs of the people," Mr Weah told the AFP news agency. But the good feeling seems to have disappeared. "We will not accept a witch-hunt, and we have the capability to stop such, and this is what we will do, because we represent the people," said Mr Nagbe of the Congress for Democratic Change. "I also want to bring to your attention that our Standard Bearer was being hustled and bundled off the plane." He said Mr Weah and two colleagues were detained for 30 minutes before being allowed to return to Monrovia but without their documents.



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