Grand Association Deeply Disturbed by Reported Attacks on Grand Gedeh County
(A Press Release Issued by Grand Gedeh Association in the Americas)
The Grand Gedeh Association in the Americas, Inc. is deeply disturbed and concerned over recent reports of an attack on and occupation of Grand Gedeh County, Liberia. Early last week, a group known as the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL) claimed responsibility for the attack. A few days later, LURD claimed that it was its forces that attacked the county. The Grand Gedeh Association is investigating these claims and the current situation in the county.
Meanwhile, we are calling on all factions to the Liberian conflict to resolve their differences through dialogue rather than the barrel of the gun. We believe that genuine peace and national reconciliation which are essential for national healing and the rebuilding of Liberia will be realized only if we apply democratic principles to conflict resolution.
The Grand Gedeh Association once again reaffirms the commitment of the people of Grand Gedeh County to utilizing nonviolent means to resolve the on-going Liberian conflict. We will, therefore, continue to lend our support to all peaceful endeavors to restore peace to our country.
We also want it to be known that the superintendent of Grand Gedeh County, Madam Ruth Milton, still enjoys our confidence. We continue to recognize her as the chief administrator of the county. It is because of the courage of people like her that we still have a place to call home. Madam Milton’s sacrificial services to our people during their hour of greatest need have secured for her a place of honor in the history of our county. We encourage the superintendent to jealously guard the unity of our people and county for which she fought so hard.
The Grand Gedeh Association calls on the Taylor Government to remove the incentives for Liberians to seek redress through violent means. For almost six years now the Liberian people have been calling on the government to fully implement the Abuja Accord by, among other things, restructuring the Liberian military. There have also been numerous calls to curb the security abuses and to create a level playing field for the ensuing national elections. Unfortunately, the government's response to these and many similar calls has been outright stone-walling, or cosmetic overtures at best. This disregard for the wishes of the majority of the Liberian people and the government’s apparent determination to manipulate rather than engage the Liberian people in good faith may drive otherwise peaceful Liberians to seek redress through non-democratic means.
The Grand Gedeh Association once again calls on President Taylor and the Liberian Government to realize that much of what needs to be done to end the suffering of the Liberian people lies within their means. They can end the destruction of the country by heeding the calls of the people. Many Liberians now pin their hope for the restoration of peace and security in the country on the forthcoming national elections, and the government can create the environment for the realization of the people’s aspirations.
We join in the call on the government to immediately engage the other warring factions in a serious dialogue to cease hostilities, allow for the immediate deployment of an international intervention force in Liberia, and take serious steps to ensure the credibility and objectivity of the Elections Commission. We also call on the government to release all political prisoners, including the human rights activist Aloysius Toe, Mabutu Kromah, and Mohamed Dukuly.
Jackson N. Wonde
William G. Nyanue