UN Peacekeepers Unearth Hidden Arms at Charles Taylor General’s Home

By Josephus Moses Gray
Monrovia, Liberia

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

May 5, 2004

In its drive to make Monrovia and its environs arms free and stable, the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) on April 30 discovered several hidden arms and weapons from the Duport Road residence of General Matthew Chiplay. General Chiplay is a former commander of the disbanded Wild Geese, one of the dreaded armed groups of the deposed regime of Mr. Taylor.

According to residents of Duport Road, Paynesville, UNMIL team stormed Gen. Chiplay's residence and uncovered unspecified numbers of arms, weapons and ammunitions, including rocket-propelled grenades. The Nigerian contingent serving under the mission carried out the mission.

The residents of the area, in their accounts, said that some of the arms and weapons were discovered under the bed of the former associate of Mr. Taylor. The action by UNMIL followed a tip-off from some of the residents who have been living under fear due to the presence of Gen. Chiplay in their community. Apart from Gen. Chiplay, there are several other former close associates of Mr. Taylor who reside in the area.

The arms uncovered in the house, the residents said, were buried under the former general’s bed, while other arms and weapons were found from in other parts of the house. The general was reportedly taken away by UNMIL to an unknown destination, apparently for questioning.

Meanwhile, UNMIL Force Commander, Gen. Daniel Opande has on several occasions made it clear that anyone or any ex-combatant found with arms and weapons, after the DDRR exercise is completed in their community, will be dealt with under the law of Liberia.

According to Gen. Opande, it is illegal for any ex-combatant to carry arms after the DDRR program had been completed in their location, saying that UNMIL is determined to enforce such an order to the letter.

Several residents of Monrovia and its surroundings have expressed fear that if decisive steps are not taken by UNMIL to deal with violators, the proliferation of arms is bound to continue under the cover of darkness.

The residents are calling on UNMIL to remain steadfast, raid all homes suspected being havens for illegal arms and weapons, in their quest to make Liberia especially Monrovia arms free.