Press Releases

More Revelations On Mahel Massacre?Babies Heads Smashed, Pregnant Women Disemboweled


April 30, 2008

Tubmanburg (TRC)--A survivor of the Mahel River Massacre in Bomi County said Charles Taylor's government militiamen under the command of General Benjamin Yeaten smashed the heads of scores of babies and disemboweled pregnant women during the killings.

Moses Bridge, 77, said the fighters mutilated the dead before dumping their bodies in the Mahel River.

He was testifying Monday before commissioners of Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission at an ongoing rural public hearing in the auditorium of the C.H. Dewey High School in Tubmanburg City, Bomi County.

Mr. Bridge said the victims were transported from Tubmanburg City under the pretense of evacuating them to Monrovia for relief supplies and safety.

He said three truck loads of civilians were transported one after another to the Mahel Bridge where Yeaten and his men were awaiting them.

"After the empty truck returned to Tubmanburg, after carrying the first batch of people, I saw blood stains all over the vehicle and suspected that our people had been killed by General Yeaten and his men."

Following the returned of the truck, Bridge explained dozens of others including him and his wife boarded the truck headed again for the Mahel.

At the Mahel River Bridge, the witness explained, the fighter responsible for carrying out the slaughter first singled out his wife to disembark from the truck.

Drawing the emotion of the audience, he said his wife bidded him farewell saying, "I know I am going to die so goodbye. Remember we promised each other that only death will do us apart."

Mr. Bridge explained that after saying those words, the fighter carrying out the killings shot Bridge's wife in his presence before mutilating her body.

He said the fighter then asked him, "You see what happened to that woman," and he responded in tears, "That is my wife you have just killed."

Following the verbal exchanges with the fighter, Bridge said he requested that he wanted to say his last prayer, but the fighter responded, "We are not here for God business."

He said he was then asked to sit on the rails of the bridge and was pushed by another fighter into the river accompanied by hails of gunfire. He said he successfully evaded the bullets and swam to the fringes of the river where he witnessed the execution of hundreds of people all night.

The witness said the heads of dozens of babies were smashed on the bridge while the guts of the pregnant women were opened by the fighters.

"The next day after the killings, when I came from my hiding place, the entire surface of the water and bridge were covered with blood."

The TRC is an independent body set up to investigate the root causes of the Liberian crisis, document human rights violations, review the history of Liberia, and put all human rights abuses that occurred during the period from 1979 to 2003 on record. The TRC mandate is to also identify victims and perpetrators and make recommendations on amnesty, prosecution and reparation.

The ongoing rural public hearing in Bomi County is being held under the theme: "Confronting Our Difficult Past, For A Better Future."


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