Prince Johnson Complains Of Assassination Plot, Goes Into Hiding

By Josephus Moses Gray
Monrovia, Liberia

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

April 2, 2004

Despite of his persistent appeals for Liberians to put behind the ugly past, forgive each others, reconcile their differences and move ahead with the fragile peace process, the man blamed for the gruesome murder of Liberia’s 20th President, Samuel Kanyon Doe, the leader of the defunct Independent National Patriotic front of Liberia (INPFL), Gen. Prince Y. Johnson has run into serious problems since his return Monrovia.

Gen. Johnson, who turned evangelist told journalists on March 28 upon his return to Liberia that he “did not killed President Doe instead the 20th President committed suicide”. Gen. Johnson alleged that his return to Monrovia was upon the invitation extended him by the chairman of the transitional government, Chares Gyude Bryant.

Gen. Johnson openly denied killing the first indigenous Liberian President. But his denial prompted and generated massive public reactions and out cry. In their action, the public accused Gen. Johnson and his men of capturing President Doe on 9th September 1990, torturing and butchering him to death. Some of those spoken to say there is a video recording to that effect, linking Gen. Johnson to the brutal murder of President Doe.

But Gen. Johnson told the Liberian media on Thursday, April 1, that he has gone into hiding for fear for his life on grounds that there is a plot to have him assassinated. Gen. Johnson who was spoke from an undisclosed location accused the younger brother of the late President Doe, Chayee Doe, of being the brain behind the reported assassination plan.

Speaking in an angry tongue, Gen. Johnson told the local press that the alleged assassination plot was uncovered by his “ boys”, some of whom, he said, are also members of the Liberian United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), a rebel group that Chayee Doe serves as acting chairman.

Gen. Johnson who boasted that “no bullet can harm him”, said “ I have 30,000 men on the ground from both my factions and that of Charles Taylor and are ready to defend” me…”

Gen. Johnson said that he had informed his father Samuel Varney of the reported plot against him but stated any attempt to assassinate him will be a disaster for the nation because his 30,000 strong men are prepared to die for him. General Varney serves as deputy to Gen. Johnson during the outset of the Liberian civil war.

According to him, Mr. Doe and a group of LURD forces on April 1 visited his temporary residence on the Bushrod Island to kill him, adding that he had to fled the area before Mr. Doe and his group arrived at the area.

But in his reaction, Mr. Doe denied plotting to assassinate Gen. Johnson, adding that he does not know Prince Johnson neither has he seen him physically”. He said he has only seen Gen. Johnson’s photo and have nothing against him.

Mr. Doe said as a lover of peace and democracy, he remains committed to the peace process in the country and holds nothing bad against Gen. Johnson who killed his older brother who was then serving as president of Liberia.

According to him, Gen. Johnson accusation against him is an attempt to bring to disrepute his reputation that he has built over the years, saying that it is Gen Johnson who still has bad plans against the Doe’s family.

How can Gen. Johnson, who has written the Doe’ family for forgiveness, make a U-turn to falsely accuse him of plotting to kill him, he asked? He said “ maybe it is Gen. Johnson who might want to eliminate him the same way he was able to kill his brother.

Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission of Liberia has threatened to take a legal action against Gen. Johnson if he continues to make statements against the peace process.

Besides, hundreds of angry mob on March 31 besieged and attacked the vehicle Gen. Johnson was traveling on in the Monrovia suburbs of Red-light in Paynesville. He was quickly rescued by UNMIL forces assigned to the area. According to eyewitnesses, the mob chanted anti Prince Johnson slogans.

The transitional government either UNMIL is yet to make an official statement on the situation, while the whereabouts of Gen. Johnson remains unknown.