Press Releases

Police Were Ordered To Kill Baccus & Others...D. Karn Karlor

The primary objectives of troops that opened fire on demonstrators on April 14, 1979 was to kill Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL) leader Gabriel Baccus Matthews, an activist of PAL D. Kahn Karlor said.

Mr. Carlor said troops that surrounded the headquarters of PAL thought Mr. Matthews was hiding there so they opened fire to kill him.

"The primary of objectives of the police on April 14 was to get raid of Baccus Matthews. They thought that the man that they perceived use to make all the trouble was hiding in our headquarters so they opened fire on the building," he said.

He said the police opened fire in order to execute Matthews and all officials of PAL they thought were in the building.

Mr. Karlor said at least 300 demonstrators were killed and later buried in a mass grave on Gurley Street around the headquarters of PAL. He said the burial came after several failed requests by relatives of the dead to claim their bodies.

"They decided that they will bury PAL people in a mass grave. They bury them in a mass grave on our door step," Mr. Karlor said.

Karlor: "The police fired the first gunshot on PAL office. They ordered all PAL officials kill at the head office. An arrest warrant was issued for all PAL officials, with some carrying ransom of $25,000.00."

He said the day before the demonstration, then attorney general Oliver Bright ordered security officers to shoot on sight anyone taking to the streets. Carlor said moments before the shooting there were several interventions from religious leaders and Mr. Albert Porte to advert the demonstration.

He claimed that the number of people imprisoned on April 14 were about 575.

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.

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