March 4, 2008
ZWERDU (TRC)?Fighters of the defunct Independent National Patriotic Front of
Liberia (INPFL) massacred scores of ethnic Krahns in 1990 when ECOMOG
peacekeeping soldiers tried to evacuate the Krahns from Liberia, a witness told
commissioners of Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Monday.
The witness said the victims were transported onboard five ECOMOG trucks
from the Barclay Training Center (BTC) to the Freeport of Monrovia on September
11, a day following the death of President Samuel Kanyon Doe to await
evacuation when INPFL fighters under the command of General Prince Johnson
stormed the port and demanded their turnover.
Testifying on the first day of the TRC Public Hearings in Zwedru, Grand
Gedeh County, Henry Zonweayea, local chair of the ruling Unity Party who
survived the massacre, said following their arrival at the Freeport they were
temporarily housed in a warehouse of the Liberia Produce Marketing Corporation
(LPMC) before Johnson, then leader of the INPFL now senator of Nimba County,
arrived and demanded that the peacekeepers release all of the evacuees to him.
Prince Johnson, he said, was informed by the soldiers of the evacuation
plan, but he contended that they would not be evacuated. He said the INPFL
leader instead ordered his fighters to bundle several of the evacuees into two
waiting pickups and a bus.
According to him the victims were taken to the Caldwell
Bridge where all of them were
ordered to kneel down as the fighters shot them execution style.
Zonweaye who claimed he escaped the massacre said those murdered numbered up
to 50, naming some of the dead as former police intelligence chief Peter Thomas
and National Housing Authority (NHA) managing director Samuel
He explained that when Johnson later returned to the port and ordered his
fighters to take away another batch of the evacuees, he was held by ECOMOG
soldiers under the command of General Joshua Dogonyarro who demanded that the
last batch be returned before his release.
The INPFL leader, he said at that time communicated with his deputy Gen.
Samuel Varney who had already lined them up for execution. Mr. Zonweayea
testified that it was following the return of the captives that Gen. Dogonyarro
ordered Johnson's release.
Also appearing Monday, another witness 70-year-old George G. Quiah, said
fighters of the defunct National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) killed
dozens of inhabitants of Gbarbloh Town, Grand Gedeh County before setting the
He said the NPFL rebels who pleaded with the town's inhabitants to return
from the bush deceived them, saying LPC leader George Boley sent them to carry
the villagers to Tuzon for a meeting.
"We believed the fighters and everybody came out and lined up, but we were
surprised when they started to kill everybody," the witness said.
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 public hearings in Zwedru, Grand
are being held under the theme: "Confronting Our Difficult Past ForA
Better Future." The hearings will Monday move to the port city of Greenville,