The Cold Bloody Murder of Kaare Lund, Emmanuel Sharpolu and Musa Kieta
The Taylor regime is claiming that its checkpoint security officers stationed in the Toe Town area advised the relief workers not to go beyond the checkpoint, but "the driver bulldozed his way through the roadblock." However, many Liberians and diplomats in Monrovia do not seem to buy the government's story about the murders. For one thing, Liberian checkpoint security forces are notorious for their violent behavior. And no issue is more emblematic of the regime's damaged credibility than its scandalous support for the murderous security apparatus.
It can be recalled that a similar incident occurred in June 2001, in which U. S. Sgt. James Michael Newton, an official of the American Embassy, was shot by Taylor's so-called Anti-Terrorist Unit (ATU) in Monrovia. At the time, the government said Sgt. Newton had bulldozed his way through the roadblock. To bolster its case, the regime relied on a story written by one of the writers at its propaganda website, Allaboutliberia.com.
According to the regime propagandist's account, the reporter had conducted an exclusive interview with the Liberian consort of Sgt. Newton's who corroborated the official story. But under pressure from U.S. Embassy officials to produce the Liberian lady, the reporter, James T. Bleetan II, admitted he fabricated the whole story. This shooting took place in Monrovia, not in a war zone. This is why many people have doubt that the aid workers would disregard government checkpoint officers' advice and violently force their way through the roadblock. Pictures taken of Toe Town clearly showed the target of the brutality: dead innocent civilians. There are no dead or wounded LURD's fighters or government casualties.
According to our sources in Monrovia, some people are beginning to think that perhaps there is conspiracy between the chief purveyor of terrorism in Monrovia and his counterpart in LURD to kill and terrorize the citizenry. Since the brutal killing of the aid workers, not a single word has come LURD on the Toe Town attack. Did LURD attack Toe Town and kill the ADRA aid workers and innocent civilians in the town? And if so, why?
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued a statement last week in which he extended "his deepest sympathy to the families and colleagues of three humanitarian workers, and demands that the government of Liberia determine the exact circumstances under which the incident took place, and bring the perpetrators to justice. He further calls on all parties to the conflict in Liberia to reinforce measures taken to ensure the protection of civilians, including relief workers."
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch recently issued a report detailing the atrocities committed by LURD and the Taylor government forces against the innocent Liberian people. According to the Human Right Watch report, "The women, who worked for the Liberian organization Merci, were given a 'choice' by the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) of either joining them as fighters or becoming “wives” of rebel soldiers. All of them were physically, sexually and psychologically abused."
LURD has been fighting to oust the Taylor regime since 1999, but has not made significant gains except the misery they and Taylor's thugs have meted against the Liberian people. Most Liberians do not regard the rebel group as democrats. Many view the group as one replete with corrupt individuals from the Doe dictatorship, and other remnants from the most brutal rebel factions of the civil war.
Though the rebels have mostly hurt innocent Liberians than ousting Mr. Taylor, over the past few months, they have been struggling for power among themselves. J. Nhinson Williams, onetime spokesman for the group, J. Laveli Supperwood, the group's legal and political adviser, and a score of others have been "suspended" for dereliction of duty.
Meanwhile, report from Monrovia speaks of massive fleeing of civilians from the central Liberian city of Gbarnga, as fighting broke out between the rebel Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and government forces.
According to BBC's Focus On Africa program monitored by The Perspective, the rebels have seized the St. Paul river bridge 43 kilometers from Gbarnga, and the government has dispatched its most dreaded General Benjamin Yeaten to Bong County to quell the latest attack. The report says nearby Phebe Hospital in Suakoko was being evacuated in anticipation of the fighting.