Former Liberian president Charles Taylor is accused of starting civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone. (Schalk van Zuydam/Associated Press file photo)

Former Liberian president Charles Taylor is in a UN jail in Sierra Leone, where he will be tried for war crimes.

Taylor, who had been on the run in Nigeria, arrived Wednesday from Liberia where he had been sent after Nigerian authorities caught him trying to flee into Cameroon.

A white UN helicopter brought Taylor to the the compound of the UN-supported war crimes tribunal in Freetown, Sierra Leone's capital.

Taylor disappeared on Monday just days after Nigeria had reluctantly agreed to hand him over to the war crimes tribunal. Nigeria had granted him asylum under a 2003 agreement that helped end Liberia's 14-year civil war.

After his arrest, Taylor was immediately flown to Liberia on orders from Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, according to the Associated Press.

He was captured by security forces in the border town of Gamboru in northeastern Nigeria, Information Minister Frank Nweke said in a statement.

Taylor is accused of starting civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone that killed an estimated three million people in the 1980s and 1990s. He's also suspected of harbouring al-Qaeda suicide bombers responsible for the 1998 attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

The U.S. and the UN have repeatedly insisted that Taylor be handed over to the war crimes tribunal in Sierra Leone, backed by the country and the UN.

Obasanjo initially resisted, but gave in after a request for Taylor's surrender came from Liberia's new president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a former UN administrator who once backed Taylor before becoming his political rival.

African leaders have been reluctant to become involved in helping to bring the continent's former presidents or dictators to justice, apparently fearful they could be implicated in, or accused of, human rights abuses or other crimes.