Alleged Trap for Opponents Leaked

The Perspective
April 2, 2001

Editors' Note: With journalists randomly charged with espionage and thrown in prisons, frequent disappearances and summary executions, leaked and usually credible reports on the inner plans of Charles Taylor's Government have become common. Bombarded with periodic leaks from Liberia, editors of The Perspective face difficulties in verifying the authenticity of leaked stories. Understandably, most sources fear for their lives and prefer anonymity. Thus when the paper received reports of an alleged plot to implicate the remaining opposition figures in the country for elimination, doubts were raised, but they were soon erased by the fact that nearly all exiled opposition leaders currently face a treason charge and therefore barred to return home.

This fact, along with President Taylor's constant threats to chase opponents "in their mothers' wombs", made the following story on an alleged and planned plot to trap the opposition believable. And then there are many precedents of such plots by tyrants in Liberia's bloody political history. In 1984, Samuel Doe staged a plot that implicated his key opponents. At the head of this alleged plot was his brother-in-law, Moses MD Flanzamiton, then Commander of the Executive Mansion Guards, the presidential elite troops. In handcuffs on national television, he was made to name his alleged accomplices, all opposition party leaders. They were arrested, brutalized, paraded naked on television and eventually silenced.

Just few days ago, a human rights advocate, James Verdier, Director of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC), complained of threats on his life and reported that he had received information that "prominent" members of the Taylor Government were plotting to kill him. A few hours later, after receiving information about the threats, Verdier's car was vandalized.

Now, The Perspective has received the following story from a source desiring anonymity for obvious reasons. Because of Taylor regime's track record on gross human rights abuses, we present the story:

There are credible reports in Liberia that Mr. Charles Taylor and his cohorts had a secret meeting [about] two weeks ago to implement a further attack on the opposition, the press and other leading members of the civil society who are vocal against the ugly deeds of Mr. Taylor. This plan is to take the form of the Flazamiton type of coup plot that was carried on by the late Samuel Doe. In this plot, Mr. Taylor will announce to the nation that one of his (loyalists), Mr. Daniel Chea, the Minister of Defense has been arrested for plotting to overthrow his administration. After the arrest of Mr. Chea, the stage will then be set for the confession of the names of other members of the plot. At this time the names of leading members of the civil society in the likes of; (Catholic) Archbishop Michael Francis, Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh of the Opposition Liberian People's Party), Mr. Philip N. Wesseh (editor of the daily The Inquirer), the president of the University of Liberia Students Union and those of his opponents in the NPP. Those targeted in the NPP include Mr. Christian G. Herbert, Rep. Abraham Masseley, Sen. Harrison N.Slewion, Mr. Maxwell.Kabbah (all disgruntled members of Taylor's team) and others to be named.

[Mr. Herbert recently delivered a speech denouncing the Party's Communist posture with privileges and opportunities for the few at the top while the majority of followers, abandoned child soldiers, suffer. Taylor, in response, said those who dislike his party must "pack their bags and leave".]

Meanwhile the reports also have it that the leadership of the University of Liberia Faculty has demanded the dismissal of the President of the University, Dr. Ben Roberts and the lifting of the suspension placed on the Student Leadership with immediate effect before the resumption of normal activities at the University.

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