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PRC Men Argued Over Chairmanship...Kromah Stars At TRC

Arguments ensued amongst members of the People Redemption Council (PRC) junta as to who become chairman shortly following the April 12, 1980 military coup, former ULIMO-K faction leader Alhaji G. V. Kromah said.

Mr. Kromah said he was told by PRC member Abraham Kollie that on the night of the coup the first choice to chair the junta was not Master Sergeant Samuel Kanyon Doe.

Testifying Monday at the ongoing Thematic and Institutional Inquiry Hearings of Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion in Monrovia, Kromah said Kollie said that shortly after the successful staging of the coup, the soldiers had a meeting on one of the floors of the mansion on who to head the government.

According to Kollie, Kromah said, during the meeting the soldiers asked each other "what are we going to do." He said some of the soldiers then asked "where is the vice president." But Kollie answered he had taken Bishop Bennie Warner to the airport and he departed the country.

He said during the meeting PRC member Thomas Weh Syen demanded to be the junta leader because he should had been commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the army when the coup was staged. But Kromah explained that Thomas Quinwonkpah suggested that Master Sergeant Samuel Doe served provisionally as chairman pending another meeting.

Mr. Kromah added that after the soldiers unanimously agreed to select Doe as chairman of the junta, they proceeded to the Post Stockade military prison to release detained politicians of the Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL).

Kromah who served as director general of the state-run Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS) and Minister of Information under the junta disclosed that the speech read by Master Sergeant Doe to announced the takeover was drafted by released PAL members Gabriel Baccus Matthews, Chea Cheapoo, and Oscar Quiah.

"Doe told me Baccus Matthews, Chea Cheapoo and Oscar Quiah wrote the statement he read to announce the coup," he said.

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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