Taylor and his Henchmen Pull Some Tricks

By Nvasekie N. Konneh

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

October 30, 2002

Since Taylor's security forces went on the rampage, arresting Hassan Bility and his fellow detainees on the false charge that they wanted to assassinate him, freedom-loving people in and outside of Liberia have been demanding that they either be sent to courts or released. There has been countless number of articles in newspapers, on the internet, and even demonstrations. As of now, the Coalition of human rights organizations have declared the week of October 25th through November 1st in solidarity with Hassan Bility, Sheik Sackor and all those illegally detained. All these have been done so that the Liberian "strong man," Charles Taylor, can see reasons and do the right thing and that is to set the captives free. As always, Mr. Taylor wants to prove that he is a tough guy who cannot crack under any pressure from any quarter. In a plain sense, Mr. Taylor is telling us that all of what we have been doing don't move him and that he does whatever pleases him.

But the reality is that Mr. Taylor has been feeling the pressure but admitting that will prove his weakness and he does not want us to know this. In order to maintain his tough image while trying to respond to the pressure, Mr. Taylor has decided to create a condition whereby some groups will come to present statements of loyalty like it used to be during Tubman, Tolbert or Doe times. Mr. Taylor will then respond by setting the captives free without admitting the fact he was wrong all along for detaining them in the first place. He would set them free with unnecessary and unbearable conditions.

This face saving scheme is headed by non other than his chief of protocol, Moussa Cisse, who with enormous power has hastily put together a group called National Association of Islamic Opinion Leaders of Liberia (NAIOLL). This is hypocritical given the fact that this Moussa Cisse is personally and directly responsible for the arrest of some of the people in detention. His resident is used as detention center for some of the detainees. He is even quoted to have said publicly that if everything were left with him he would have killed Hassan Bility long time. He has been abusing his position just like his boss and that's the reason so many are in jail. Whether he does this for his own pleasure or to satisfy his boss is another matter but we can't accept such man fronting for the Liberian Moslems when he has been part of the NPFL going around the country burning mosques and killing Moslems. It's about time that Moussa Cisse and his brothers are exposed for what they are. They are in partnership with Charles Taylor for the destruction of Liberia. Many Moslems see him as being nothing but traitor to Islam in particular and the Liberian nation in general. Just like his boss, Moussa Cisse only represents his self-interest. That such a man will be masquerading, as head of any Moslem organization, is an insult to all God fearing Moslems.

The information we have gathered is that Mr. Cisse from the on set of this debacle had series of meetings with the Moslem community members at which time he told them to go and apologize to Charles Taylor. Those present at those meetings rejected this, saying that there was no reason for them to beg Taylor. Just like all reasonable people, the Moslems demanded that Hassan and others be sent to courts. Since he did not succeed in convincing the broad section of the Moslem community, now comes Mr. Cisse with a scheme intended to save his boss man Taylor from the embarrassing situation he finds himself in. But this time before they execute it, we know it's just another one from Taylor's bag of million tricks and lies. Isn't it hypocritical for the man who brought war to Liberians on the eve of Christmas to say he "cannot deny the request of God's people, especially when their appeal is attached to the Muslim Holy month of Ramadan."? Does Taylor care about Ramadan? If the man did not respect the sanctity of his own Christian religion how in the hell can such a man tell us that he respects any other religion? It's all a front to make him looks benevolent to the Moslems. Such is the trademark of all dictators and Taylor is no exception.

It’s interesting to know that this Taylor's magnanimous action is coming right after his kangaroo court martial board had secretly found the men guilty and labeled them as prisoners of war and after the declaration of weeklong solidarity by the coalition of human rights defenders in Liberia. To undercut the impact of this weeklong solidarity activities or to make it unnecessary, Taylor has stepped his foot on the accelerator to move forward with the release, and still not without condition. If he sets the captives free and set an unnecessary and unbearable conditions, are we suppose to be grateful to him? No, we can't be grateful to him because he should not have arrested them in the first place.

It's a sad case that in Liberia one cannot depend on the justice system to exonerate people from false charges and labels by a criminal regime. Our justice system is now depended on the whim and caprice of vainglorious men who decide who goes to jail and when and how he/she can be released. This is the sign of our time and it means we are in deep trouble. Within this atmosphere, how can anyone think about free and fair election in 2003?

If Hassan Bility and his fellow detainees are set free, all freedom loving people, especially those brave and courageous human rights defenders in Liberia who have braved the storm in this case deserve credits for their bold efforts. At least they have to face the danger of being arrested and thrown in jails. We all have stood up to the forces of evil and told them what they need to be told. The boldest move of all of our efforts was the declaration of the Week with of Solidarity. Right there in their noses these courageous people plan to march on to the Executive Mansion to present a statement to Charles Taylor. It's obvious that Taylor and his henchmen will not allow this to happen. Only two options they have: stop it with a threat of violence or release the detainees before the pending peaceful march. This is one of the reasons of Taylor's surprised announcement about releasing the detainees. And yes, his henchmen, headed by his chief of protocol are there to make sure that happens according to their design.

Mean time the news coming out of Monrovia is that armed men are on the streets and some of the leaders of the planned peaceful march have gone into hiding. According to reliable source, the wife of Aloysius Toe, one of the organizers of the week long solidarity activities is being held as a mean of getting to her husband. As one group comes out of jail, another group is being sought to be taken in. That means our job of protesting the illegal detention of our people is not yet over. As we did recently in Washington, we have to be ready to do whatever is necessary if Aloysius Toe and others are detained as a result of their plan to peacefully march in the cause of freedom, justice and equality in Monrovia, Liberia.

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