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Liberia marks anniversary of Taylor's departure, celebrates 10 years of peace

The ex-wife of former Liberian President Charles Taylor says the convicted war criminal made "the ultimate sacrifice" by exiting the country 10 years ago Sunday, an event that effectively ended a brutal 14-year civil war that claimed 250,000 lives.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Jewel Taylor, now a powerful senator representing the former president's stronghold of Bong County, also said the war may have been a "necessary" chapter in Liberia's history.

On Aug. 11, 2003, the couple flew to Nigeria amid intense international pressure and persistent rebel attempts to capture Monrovia.

The government of current President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is planning to mark the 10-year anniversary of the war's conclusion on Aug. 18, the day a comprehensive peace deal was signed in Accra, Ghana.