Liberian Rebel Movement Accused Of Raping, Maltreating Civilians In Grand Bassa County

By: Timothy T Seaklon

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted November 20, 2003

The Movement for Democracy in Liberia(MODEL) has been accused by the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission(JPC) of mistreating and raping civilians in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.
JPC said in recent times, the citizens of Grand Bassa have become direct objects and victims of torture, rape, brutalities, and extortion by fighters of MODEL.

Addressing a news conference yesterday in Monrovia, JPC’s National Director Cllr. Frances Johnson-Morris said investigations conducted by her organization revealed gross human rights violation carried out by fighters of MODEL in Bassa, basically in the month of November 2003.
The JPC boss said on November 11 and 12, 2003, residents of Buchanan went amok when the city was engulfed in lawlessness, including random shooting and massive looting by MODEL fighters.

Cllr. Johnson-Morris said the incident followed a reported ambush of a MODEL fighters’ vehicle by some militia of the former Government of Liberia near Number One Compound on the Buchanan highway.

She disclosed that on November 11, an unidentified fighter of MODEL publicly raped a girl on the Bassa High School campus.

Recounting the human rights violation in the area, Cllr. Johnson-Morris said on November 13 while the citizens of the county were holding a mass meeting in the Buchanan City Hall, some fighters of MODEL upon the orders of MODEL’s General Commander for Grand Bassa, Gen. Kai Farley, paraded ‘butt-naked’ before the gathering, five persons (all males) accused of theft of property after they had been arrested and tortured.

The JPC boss said the suspects, Obadiah Dennis, Junior Harmon, Tom Kollie, Mark Mulbah and James Cooper were threatened with execution for allegedly stealing pieces and metal zinc from the compound of the Liberia Mining Company (LIMINCO).

The JPC Director also revealed that on November 9, some fighters of MODEL raped a 12-year old girl and a 74 year-old woman in District Number 4, Grand Bassa County.

She said in an attempt to extort money from the men in the area, the fighters also used various cruel means to inflict severe pain on them, including trapping their penis on rat-traps.

Cllr. Johnson-Morris also noted that the continued fighting among the belligerent forces in Bong and Nimba Counties and the consequential harassment, torturing and massive displacement of peaceful citizens in the combat areas are unacceptable and unwarranted, saying "these acts on the part of the three warring parties undeniably constitute a wanton disregard for and a flagrant violation of the comprehensive Accra Peace Agreement to which they are signatories."

She said, "we must emphasize here that these despicable acts of barbarism being committed by the belligerent forces against peaceful civilians throughout the country at a time when Liberians should be celebrating their new-found freedom certainly beats the imagination of any reasonable mind."
The JPC boss said "this is why we are calling on the leadership of MODEL to take steps in checkmating the unwarranted criminal actions of its combatants against peaceful civilians of Grand Bassa".

Meanwhile, the JPC is calling on the United Nations Mission in Liberia(UNMIL) to quickly intervene by deploying its forces in the country to forestall and curtail the acts of violence being perpetrated against the citizens.

© 2003: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.