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Liberian Warlord Calls for Protection Following Alleged Death Threat - 2004-04-02

Liberia's warlord Prince Johnson is calling on his former fighters to protect him after what he claims was an attempt on his life.

Mr. Johnson says the attack, on Thursday, was orchestrated by Cheyee Doe, the younger brother of Liberia's former military ruler, Samuel Doe. President Doe was tortured and killed in 1990, and Mr. Johnson was blamed for supervising his death.

A videotape circulated showing Mr. Johnson ordering his fighters to cut off the former president's ears and torturing him while asking for his bank account.

Mr. Johnson, who formerly headed the rebel faction, Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia, was forced into exile in Nigeria in 1992 by his arch rival, Charles Taylor.

While in Nigeria, Mr. Johnson became an evangelical preacher.

Last week he returned to Monrovia for the first time, saying he wanted to win a senate seat in Liberia's post-war elections that are scheduled for 2005.

Cheyee Doe has denied the allegations that he attempted to assassinate Mr. Johnson. Mr. Doe is currently the managing director of the port authority in the Liberian transitional government.

He was previously a main leader of the rebel group Movement for Democracy in Liberia, which along with another rebel group toppled Charles Taylor last year. Mr. Taylor himself went into exile in Nigeria.

Since the alleged assassination attempt, the whereabouts of both men have been unknown.

The United Nations mission in Liberia has been concerned over reports of tensions between former rebel movements as they work to begin the disarmament process aimed at ending two decades of civil war.