|The “Final Hours!, Mercenaries to be Released?”|
By: Bai M. Gbala, Sr.
|Sept 18, 1998: Camp Johnson Massacre|
Here we go again! It is the fate of the Endangered Species before the nation’s Supreme Court, proclaims and questioning by two of the nation’s newspapers – the New Democratand the new Dawn, both on May 6, 2015. The magic number is “13” and the Krahn People.
Do not get me wrong, simply, because I am Krahn, Elder and, perhaps, the so-called recognized and leading “Head Huncho” in critical analysis/articulation of and opposition to the issues - socio-cultural, economic and political - of life-threatening, brutal and deadly impact, exclusively, because of ethnic/tribal considerations. But a short trip backward into our recent past will give you and my critics an idea of “where I’m coming from”, Americans say.
The-now, world-known and declared Major Leader of attempts to “wipe out the Krahn and Mandingo Peoples from the face of the Liberian nation” was, still is, my Friend & Brother, “Charlie”, although I was, still am, one of the most consistent, severe critics of Mr. Charles M. Taylor’s NPFL adventure, a process during which an estimated quarter of a million of powerless, innocent and unarmed Liberians lost their lives, with massive, people displacement, including the loss of three years of my life in prison for doing nothing. But, “there is no hard-feelings”, I told Former President Taylor at the Executive Mansion after release from prison; “because prison, to a serious politician, is as important as graduate school is to a serious student” – credibility and knowledge.
Earlier, I confronted “Charlie” with the death a common friend, a comrade-in-arms, the late G. Moses Duopu. While students in the USA during the 1970s, as leaders of ULAA, we led marches, protests and criticized our political leaders here at home. “Charlie” Taylor was one of our loyal members. As President of ULAA, Mr. Moses Duopu’s home was the venue of several of our meetings and plans. Mr. Taylor courted and married young Tupee Boakai from the Duopu household in Newark, New Jersey. The young woman, Tupee, is Mae Duopu’s younger sister and Mr. Moses Duopu’s sister-in-law.
So, back home, during Mr. Taylor-led, NPFL insurgency, I confronted “Charlie” about his (Charlie’s) alleged involvement in the bayonet-killing of G. Moses Duopu on an isolated road in Logatuo, Nimba County. Mr. Taylor’s response was, “do you believe that, Bai? The ‘Gon-ka-nus’ killed their own man, not Charles Taylor”.
The issue of the Krahn People
Now, with this little piece of history, we fast-forward to some of the historic, memorable episodes of our recent past and today’s realities, continuing, deadly fate of the Krahn People.
During our nightmare of the civil war, the brutal history of which is still fresh in the minds of most Liberians, the Leader of the rebels, Mr. Charles McArthur Taylor, was maintained in murderous power by war-front commanders-executioners, with such spine-chilling titles or nicknames as “Rambo”, “Gio Devil”, “General God”, “Man-Pass-Man”, “One-Man-One”, “Pepper-And-Salt”, etc. and at checkpoints or gates awesomely known as “No-Man-Pass”, “God-Bless-You”, “Kuwait”, “Give-Me-Blood”, and execution centers where life or instant death was determined by ethnicity, membership in the national armed forces or employment by the national government. Krahn and Mandingo refugees – men and women, young and old, with children - were plucked, forcibly, routinely, out of fleeing lines and massacred brutally.
Attorney Theophilus C. Gould
Today, we are being entertained with the legal prowess Mr. Theophilus C. Gould, Counselor-at-Law, in the trial and conviction of Krahn, Ethnic/tribal People. From our national record, we find that:
1. Mr. Gould was Member of the Taylor-led National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) illegal insurgency, a murderous organization born out of and rose to (Liberian) national and international, political “fame and success” due, mainly, to close, supportive, friendly and mutually-rewarding relationship with neighboring Republic of La Cote d’Ivoire, as we shall see later.
2. Cllr. Gould has been, now is, Chairman of the National Patriotic Party (NPP), the political party that grew out of the illegal insurgency of the NPFL.
3. Cllr. Gould, member of the defunct NPFL, but now Chairman of the National Patriotic Party (NPP), is Legal Counsel to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and now, leading, prosecuting attorney of the Krahn, Ethnic/Tribal citizens charged with being mercenaries in war in La Cote d’Ivoire, a people against whom the NPFL attempted an ethnic-cleansing, genocidal war.
Our Wondering Thought
In the light of the foregoing considerations, it is reasonable, indeed important, to wonder in the manner as follows: (a), Are the Ministry of Justice and Cllr. Gould fussing political party politics, beliefs, objectives, based on ideology, into law enforcement? (b), Is it not reasonable to conclude, therefore, no wonder that the Ministry of Justice has not been able to extradite to Liberia individuals accused of criminal acts to stand trial, especially, persons having NPFL connections? (c), Is it not reasonable to conclude, that Cllr. Gould’s prominence, as leading, prosecuting attorney of a people against whom the NPFL, of which Cllr. Gould was an ideological member and now Chairman of its Political Party (NPP) which attempted an ethnic-cleansing, genocidal war, is in furtherance of this attempt as well as fulfilling NPFL’s mutually-rewarding relationship with the Republic of La Cote d’Ivoire? This, too, we shall later.
Meanwhile, we present a repeat of our article below for the information of our compatriots and readers in general, mindful of the wisdom that “those who ignore the mistakes of history are likely to repeat them”.
Ethnic/Tribal, Political Witch-Hunt: Number “13”
And the Case of Krahn People
June 19, 2014
Elsewhere, the article, The Ivory Coast Connection (The New Dawn, June 18, 2014) was our reaction/response to the most recent trial and acquittal of 5 and “unanimous” conviction of 13 of the 18 Grand Gedeh County, Liberian citizens finally charged with being mercenaries and prosecuted on the same set of evidence, according to defense attorneys. The Grand Gedeans were arrested in 2011, indicted for multiple crimes of mercenaries, murder, rape, arson and theft-of-property, kept in detention for three years, while being prosecuted at three, different trials on amended indictments characterized by charges and counter-charges of bribery, jury-tempering, etc., with offers of plea-bargaining to become state witness, in order to ensure guilty verdict.
Today, June 18, 2014, the trial Judge handed down a life sentence for the “13” defendants in confirmation of a guilty verdict obtained bribery – paying US $500 to each juror through court bailiff, a Mr. Kpehe, according to a defense attorneys. According to the New Dawn, “the (trial) judge underscored the testimonies of some (defendants turned state) witnesses who claimed they fought alongside their co-defendants . . . in the Ivory Coast”.
Indeed, this case has been and is a “political case” by our government. The leading, prosecuting attorney, Cllr. Theophilus Gould, according to the New Democrat (New Democrat, June 16, 2014), in his final argument, told the jury that “Liberia will be attacked by Cote d’Iviore if you, the jury, find the defendants not guilty” and noted that “you do not want to be responsible for war between Liberia land Cote d’Ivoire”. Is this evidence? Of course, not.
Butthis is a must-win-by all-means and at all costs, political case in the same tradition of the Charles Taylor’s witch-hunt arrest, “trial and conviction” and sentence of “13” ethnic Krahn citizens in 1998 and 20 years in prison on false, politically-motivated charge of Treason to avenge the military trial, conviction and execution of 13 former officials of government.
Other Facts of our Recent History
The near-total destruction of Liberia and its socio-cultural, economic and political order, its infrastructure and the profound human suffering and death were the result of the December 24, 1989, armed invasion of Liberia by the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL). Mr. Charles McArthur Taylor and several of his Liberian, member-leaders of the insurgency gathered in Abidjan and environs, La Cote d’Ivoire, organized, planned and launched the invasion through the Ivorian/Liberian border town of Logatuo, Nimba County, made possible with the knowledge, approval/permission by the government of the Republic of La Cote d’Ivoire for Ivorian-Liberian border crossing. In other words and in fact, the government of La Cote d’Ivoire “aided and abetted” this criminal act of armed aggression against the sister Republic of Liberia. During this period (December, 1989), the Head of state and government of La Cote d’Ivoire was the late President, Houphouet Boigny; Mr. Alassane Ouattara became Prime Minister, shortly, in 1990.
During April of 1996, Mr. Charles Taylor of the NPFL, in collaboration with Alhaji G. V. Kromah (a Mandingo!) undertook a deadly ethnic-cleansing attack upon the late, General David Roosevelt Johnson, leader of ULIMO, an effort designed to silence the-then resistant, effective, military voice led by Krahn and Mandingo people against the NPFL. Although this objective failed, but the city of Monrovia was an armed camp of brutality, human suffering and death on “April 6”, as the day was called and remembered to this day, with several homes and public buildings looted and many innocent citizens, including the wounded, fled the city and country on the famous Buck Challenge, a Nigerian freighter.
After becoming “President of this nation” (Liberia) with awesome state power at his disposal and the declared policy of “jungle justice”, Mr. Charles Taylor continued his plan of Ethnic- Cleansing. On September 18, 1998, President Taylor ordered an all-point-bulletin of unprovoked, military attack, code-named “Surgical Operations”, upon the peaceful, relatively Krahn-settlement/community, including the residence of the late, General David Roosevelt Johnson, on Camp Johnson Road, Monrovia.
Several, innocent civilians were shot and killed by military and security forces, including the arrest of several, ethnic Krahn citizens. Of the arrested, only “13” Krahn ethnic persons were taken to the “Taylor court”, charged with the usual, “one-size-fits-all”, convenient, false, vicious and politically-motivated, first-degree felony of “Treason”; denied legal counsel of choice, “tried, convicted” and sentenced to ten (10) years in prison. Upon appeal, the Taylor Supreme Court of the nation did not only uphold the lower court verdict, but added ten (10) years, for a total of twenty (20) years!!
The “trends” of vicious vilifications and unfounded attacks upon the Krahn people of Grand Gedeh County began with the “April 12, 1980 Event” that brought young, Samuel Doe, an ethnic Krahn, to Liberian, national, political power and, later, to become the nation’s first, indigenous citizen elected president of Liberia. Although Samuel Doe and the Krahn Tribe are not one and the same and that the constitution and laws of Liberia recognize the right of all eligible citizens (citizenship, age) to participate in politics – seek and be elected to hold any office, including the office of president – indigenous or tribal citizens were systematically “discouraged” by both covert and overt acts that gave rise to unwritten rules of indigenous (or ethnic/tribal) exclusion.
Thus, the election and assumption of national, political power by indigenous Samuel Doe was as unusual as it was disturbing and unacceptable to the nation’s minority, ruling class. This condition awakened, reinforced and created anew our latent, traditional Ethnic/tribal Bigotry – local/regional/national jealousy, rivalry, antagonism, discrimination/segregation, etc., now directed against the Krahn people.This condition, unfortunately, developed into fear, suspicion, hatred, anger, etc. on the part of our nation’s historic, minority rulers; for, they questioned and vigorously opposed the struggle of “this uncivilized, country people” who dared to assert social, economic and political opportunities and rights heretofore reserved for and enjoyed by them.
Most importantly, the Charles Taylor-led NPFL insurgency that began on December 24, 1989 gave expression to the “assault” and hatred upon Krahn people; it provided the foundation upon which fear, suspicion, jealousy, segregation/discrimination and hatred were and are based. Proclaimed (on BBC Focus on Africa) as an “armed struggle to remove a dictator (Samuel K. Doe, an ethnic Krahn) in order to restore to the Liberian people the right of free choice in the selection of their leaders”, but the insurgency rapidly degenerated into systematic manipulation and exploitation of ethnic/tribal, socio-political differences, inflamed passions and gave rise to the ethnically-driven, deeply-divisive tragedy of Liberia’s historic civil war that targeted, specifically, and victimized, severely, the Krahn people, simply, because the first, indigenous citizen who became the nation’s president happened to be an ethnic Krahn.
Although this “trial, conviction and sentencing” of “13” Grand Gedeh County citizens is an apparent continuation of the NPFL tradition of Political Witch-Hunt against Grand Gedeh County and people will, perhaps, be appealed to the nation’s Supreme Court, we entertain nor expect no up-set or rejection of the lower court’s decision, but affirmation with, perhaps, additional, possible excessive punishment, as it was in the case of the 1998, famous “treason trial/conviction/final sentence of “13” Grand Gedeans.
Grand Gedeh Association Welcomes Release of Prisoners
Conspiracy to Eliminate the Krahn Ethnic Group