Lagos, Nigeria Former Liberian warlord Charles Taylor slipped away just after Nigeria reluctantly agreed to transfer him to a war crimes tribunal, and the White House suggested Tuesday that President Bush may cancel a meeting with Nigeria's leader.
The Nigerian government in Abuja said Taylor vanished Monday night from his villa in the southern city of Calabar, where he had lived in exile since being forced from power under a 2003 peace deal that ended Liberia's civil war.
The announcement came three days after President Olusegun Obasanjo - under pressure from Washington and others - agreed to surrender Taylor to a U.N.-backed tribunal. Taylor would be the first African leader to face trial for crimes against humanity.
The U.S.-educated Taylor has been indicted by the tribunal on charges of committing crimes against humanity while in office by aiding and directing a rebel movement during Sierra Leone's 1991-2001 civil war. He was accused of trading guns and gems with the insurgents, including child fighters, who terrorized victims by chopping off their arms, legs, ears and lips.