LURD’s Chairman Plans to Hide Weapons

From A Correspondent
Monrovia, Liberia

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

January 8, 2004


With two of Liberia's warring factions (LURD & MODEL)being reluctant to disarm to UNMIL, a startling revelation has shown that the head of the leading faction, Sekou Damate Conneh has all along been up to playing tricks in the disarmament process. Long before the U. N. took over the peace keeping mission in Liberia, the LURD Chairman instructed his military high command not to disarm to ECOWAS or the U. N. when the disarmament exercise takes shape. Mr. Sekou Conneh told his men that during the 1997 disarmament of former combatants, Mr. Charles Taylor hid some of his sophisticated weapons, which he had intended to use if he had lost the elections. Based on that scenario, the LURD leader decided to hide some of his heavy weapons to be used later just in case....

The plan by the LURD leader to hide weapons has three dimensions. First, a save place across the border in Sierra Leone was identified and earmarked as one of the armories for hidden arms. The Sierra Leone authorities might have had a tip-off which necessitated the deployment of troops on the border. However, according to LURD military sources that are fed up with the senseless killing of innocent Liberians, since the border is very porous, LURD may succeed in hiding some of its heavy weapons. Second, LURD has a huge cache of arms in Tubmanburg that Sekou Conneh intends to keep.

Finally, the Guinean authorities requested Chairman Conneh to return most of the heavy weapons that Guinea supplied to LURD lest they fall in the hands of the UNMIL forces who will trace the source. The New York based Human Rights Watch has already documented Guinea's support to the rebel faction. Sekou Conneh already confirmed the obvious by visiting Guinea and thanking that government for supporting LURD in her rebellion.

One may wonder why would any warring faction want to engage in tricks by trying to hide some weapons. As I said before, Chairman Conneh thinks that Taylor did it, so he can also try his luck. Alhaji Kromah tried it before by turning his Congo town house into an arsenal. He was not that lucky because ECOMOG discovered his hidden weapons and they were seized. Austin Clarke, the former NPP deputy minister of defense tried it and he was effectively busted.

Sekou Conneh is faced with a serious dilemma. Information from Guinea is that he is not wanted in that country because of the embarrassment he caused Lasana Conteh with the BBC thank you message. Part of Conneh's dilemma is that during the four years of rebellion, some of his men made him to believe that he was actually president of Liberia. They flattered him with salutations befitting only of an elected president. Up to date, mud huts in rural Liberia that survived the destruction are decorated with his pictures. All in all, Mr. Conneh is under the illusion that he is a real president or one in waiting. He could not even get ministerial post especially at the finance ministry due to his illiterate background.

The constant attack on the Chairman of the Transitional Government by LURD and MODEL is all part of the ego that members of these two factions have, believing that they are co-head of state. It is only at the height of absurdity can a foreign minister who is a mere messenger of a government go on an international wire to challenge the head of the government that he is part of. It is like a Physician Assistant taking himself/herself to be the boss of a medical doctor.

Sekou Conneh and other faction heads who harbor presidential ambitions need to form their own political parties or purchase some existing ones to contest the 2005 general and presidential elections. If the LURD leader thinks that he will hide weapons to begin another round of fighting after the elections of 2005, then he is simply making mistakes. Liberians will never allow themselves to have a ruler like Charles Taylor who will make the existence of rebel groups possible. Chairman Conneh needs to come to Liberia and live happily with the people that he "liberated" from the tyranny of Taylor. This time around, Allah will expose all evil plans to UNMIL.