Police Arrests Liberian Ex-Rebel Commander In Belgium

BRUSSELS (AP) — A spokesman for Belgium's prosecutors says police have arrested a high-ranking member of the rebel movement that plunged Liberia into conflict more than two decades ago, on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Jean-Pascal Thoreau said Thursday that Martina Johnson, former head of heavy artillery for the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, was arrested and charged this week in Belgium. She is only the second Liberian to be charged for international crimes committed during Liberia's two civil wars that spanned 14 years and, by some counts, killed hundreds of thousands of people before ending in 2003.

Johnson has been described as a leader of Operation Octopus, a brutal battle for Liberia's capital city in 1992.

Thoreau said Johnson is set to appear before a judge on Friday.

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