Mission in Western Africa—UNMIL

  • Håkan Edström
  • Dennis Gyllensporre
Part of the New Security Challenges Series book series (NSECH)


A military coup d’état in 1980 put Samuel Doe in power in Liberia. In a contested elections a few years later he aimed for consolidating and legitimizing his position. Unrest ensued in the aftermath of the unfair elections. However it was not until 1989, when Charles Taylor started an uprising, that a civil war broke out in Liberia. From the outset of the conflict a sub-regional organization, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), undertook various initiatives aimed at a peaceful settlement. In 1992 the UN Security Council (UNSC) imposed an arms embargo on Liberia, and the UN Secretary-General (UNSG) appointed a Special Representative to assist in talks between ECOWAS and the warring parties. After ECOWAS brokered a peace agreement in 1993, the UNSC established the UN Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL) to support ECOWAS in implementing the peace agreement. UNOMIL was the first UN peacekeeping mission undertaken in cooperation with a peacekeeping operation already established by another organization. In 1997 elections were held and Charles Taylor was elected as President. With this milestone UNOMIL’s mission was successfully completed and terminated. To assist in the post-elections peace-building efforts, the UN established the UN Peace-building Support Office in Liberia (UNOL) in November 1997.


Armed Group Peace Agreement Security Situation Humanitarian Assistance Liberian Government 
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Copyright information

© Håkan Edström and Dennis Gyllensporre 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Håkan Edström
    • 1
  • Dennis Gyllensporre
    • 2
  1. 1.Swedish National Defence CollegeStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Department of Peace and Conflict ResearchUppsala UniversitySweden

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