Lost boys: What became of Liberia's child soldiers?

In the 1990s, Liberia was torn apart by a civil war in which child soldiers fought for the guerrilla leader Charles Taylor. As an international court delivers its verdict on Taylor, Finlay Young meets the former fighters back in Africa – now grown up, but not regretful of their past.

Former warlord holds key to presidential poll

A notorious former warlord has emerged as "kingmaker" in a Liberian election that grabbed the attention of the world this week when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the President running for a second term.

Ivory Coast war intensifies as battle for capital looms

Ivory Coast has been plunged back into civil war after a slow-burning election crisis developed into violence with forces loyal to the internationally recognised president-elect, Alassane Ouattara, poised to take the capital.

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Chasing the Devil: The Search for Africa's Fighting Spirit, By Tim

It's not unusual in West Africa to see dancing "devils" entertaining a crowd of amused local people. Tim Butcher encountered one shortly after crossing the border between Sierra Leone and Liberia, and he describes it in his new book as a masked figure – the headpiece carved from a single piece of jet-black wood – with a floor-length raffia skirt. Everyone knows there's a human being underneath, but the "devil" is accompanied by a young man who keeps brushing its skirt flat to maintain the illusion.