Press Releases

"LURD Was A Resistance Movement"...Sekou Conneh Testifies At TRC...Denies Knowledge of Atrocities

Sekou Conneh, the leader of the defunct Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), has expressed penitence for his role in the Liberian conflict, saying his faction was a "resistance movement".

Testifying Wednesday before commissioners of Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Conneh expressed regret for the war but quoted the renowned wise saying, "no pains, no gains." Mr. Conneh said the primary objective of his faction was to liberate the country from "the dictatorial claws of President Charles Taylor."

Conneh, the third faction leader to appear before the commission was testifying at the ongoing Institutional and Thematic Inquiry Public Hearings of the TRC at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion in Monrovia.

Mr. Conneh recounted how the rebel group was established and the prosecution of the war, which, he said was not targeted at civilians but the ouster of President Taylor.

He denied knowledge of atrocities committed by the faction, but asked the commission to direct inquiries of crimes against humanity to individual members of the faction or combatants accused.

"We were liberators. If I tell you how I treated the civilians in Voinjama, you will know. I gave them food and even opened a clinic in Voinjama where they took treatment free. I bought the drugs for the clinic. The school in Voinjama was even free and the children went to school free of charge," Conneh said.

He claimed that the rebel group did not killed prisoners of war, adding that even combatants of the opposing Taylor government constituted members of his bodyguard unit. "Even my bodyguards said I was stupid because we captured fighters of Charles Taylor and made them my bodyguards," Conneh said.

He claimed that he had no military experience during his leadership of the faction and did not go to the battlefront. Mr. Conneh said that his preoccupation was to administer the war to oust Taylor.

The former faction leader denied accusations that LURD reign mortar rounds on civilian concentrations in and around the city of Monrovia during their siege of the capitol. Mr. Conneh recommended the involvement of foreign military experts to authenticate the origin of the shelling.

Under the theme: "Understanding the Conflict Through its Principal Events and Actors," the ongoing hearings will address the root causes of the conflict, including its military and political dimensions.

The hearings are focused on events between 1979 and 2003 and the national and external actors that helped to shape those events.

The TRC was agreed upon in the August 2003 peace agreement and created by the TRC Act of 2005.

The TRC was established to "promote national peace, security, unity and reconciliation," and at the same time make it possible to hold perpetrators accountable for gross human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law that occurred in Liberia between January 1979 and October 2003.

Cclic This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This had been the official website of the Liberian TRC. The Commission ended operation
in 2010. This website is maintained by the Georgia Institute of Technology.