A series of witnesses place six top al-Qaida fugitives in Africa buying up diamonds in the run-up to the Sept. 11 attacks, according to a confidential report by U.N.-backed prosecutors obtained by The Associated Press. The first-person accounts detailed by the prosecutors add to long-standing claims that al-Qaida laundered millions of dollars in terror funds through African diamonds before launching its deadliest offensive. Al-Qaida figures, including some already wanted in pre-Sept. 11 attacks on U.S. targets, dealt directly with then-President Charles Taylor and other leaders and warlords in the West African country of Liberia from 1999 onwards, according to the accounts. The witnesses told of meetings and sightings in the seedy hotels and safehouses of Monrovia, the blighted capital of what was then a rogue nation. Full Story
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