The Liberian Democratic Future Condemns the Massacre Of over 300 Innocent Liberians
The Liberian Democratic Future fiercely condemns the recent massacre of over 300 innocent Liberians who included women, children and the elderly fleeing from indiscriminate and uncontrolled shooting by government forces on Saturday, September 19, 1998. The supplanting of the due process of law by the use of raw state power and force to evict innocent citizens who reportedly were said to be illegally occupying private properties on Camp Johnson Road in Monrovia, not only violates civil conduct, but undermines Liberia's fragile democracy.
The LDF is aware that the Liberian Constitution guarantees the rights and freedoms for every individual citizen. But the Taylor government has violated these rights and freedoms since it came to power. Yet, officials within his government are calling on him to exercise "Executive Power" in lieu of the constitution. This move prompted the minority leader of the Liberian House of Representatives, Hon. Alfred Tue, to say on September 3, 1998, "many of Liberia's worst crisis were the results of encouraging the president to use executive powers."
The LDF further observes that the lack of discipline and training, especially among the poorly paid police and security officers, leads to among other things, the killing of opposition leaders and the constant harassment of the civilian population. This is worsened by the general weakness of the administration of justice by the justice system which continues to pose serious security problems for the Liberian people; the same problem the Liberian people hoped they would have avoided when they voted en mass for Taylor's party.
The LDF is deeply concerned that the unrestrained and unchecked exercise of military-cum-police powers on innocent, unarmed citizens should not be tolerated in a democracy, no matter what; and as such, the wanton destruction of lives and properties by the Taylor government must not be allowed to continue.
The LDF keenly notes that the massacre which occurred on Camp Johnson Road and the continued arrest and imprisonment of innocent citizens without the due process of law not to mention the continued "witch-hunting," has all the elements of ethnic-cleansing and schemes resembling those that occurred in Rwanda and Bosnia. The Krahns, one of Liberia's 28 ethnic groups, and the group from which Roosevelt Johnson hails, have now become government target. Government's clampdown on "Krahn communities" such as the Matalda Estate, UN Drive, and Slipway, among many, must stop immediately.
In view of the above, we are deeply concerned about the plight of those individuals the Liberian authority has arrested. We, therefore, call on the international community and the United States in particular to bring pressure to bear on the Taylor government for a fair, speedy and transparent trial so that the rights of these individuals will not be violated.
We also call upon the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to provide the necessary support to ECOMOG in order for ECOMOG to enforce the mandate of the Abuja Accords, to do otherwise will be setting a bad precedent.
And in light of this recent massacre that left more than 300 persons dead, we call on the United Nations to consider this act as a war crime on the same scale as Rwanda and Bosnia, and perpetrators of such crimes must therefore be brought before an International War Crimes Tribunal.
In addition, we call upon the international community through the United Nations to establish an independent commission of inquiry to investigate the massacre and continuous harassment of the Krahn people.
Further resolved that those who live in a civilized community should not go unpunished for their inhumane behaviors; and in the main time, if Taylor government continues to persist in behaving in this barbaric manner, his government should not be allowed to interact nor participate in the activities of the community of civilized people.
Finally resolved that we must ensure our determination not to let Liberia revert to the dark days of the past - and surrender the future of the Liberian people to forces of totalitarianism.
Issued this 19th day of October 1998, in the State of Georgia, USA.
In the supreme interest of the Liberia people, we remain
Siahyonkron J. K. Nyanseor
George H. Nubo
Abraham M. Williams
cc: President Bill Clinton
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr.
President Jimmy Carter
U. N. General Assembly
U. S. State Department
Economic Community of West African States
The Organization of African Unity
Liberian Permanent Mission to the U. N.
The Liberian Embassy, Washington, DC
African News Service
New York Times
The Liberian Democratic Future is a think-tank,
democratic, and research organization devoted to Liberia's democratic future
P. O. Box 2824
Smyrna, GA 30081