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Lutheran Church Massacre Victim: "My Body Was Covered With Blood And Human Brian"

A weeping survivor told commissioners of Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) stories of how her entire body was draped with blood as soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) killed hundreds of fellow refugees in the St. Peter's Lutheran Church.

Winifred Kemo explained that on the night of the massacre soldiers of the AFL demanded ransom from some of the refugees after scores of them said they were tired killing.

"After they had killed and killed, then some of the soldiers said they were tired killing. So they decided to collect money from the few of us there in order to allow us to leave the compound," the witness explained at the ongoing special Lutheran Church in Liberia and the TRC commemoration program for victims and survivors of the St. Peter's Lutheran Church Massacre.

Winifred narrated that during the soldiers' onslaught pieces of the shattered brains of a young child splashed all over her body during the killings.

Sobbing profusely all through her testimonies, the survivor said there was a stream flow of blood all in the compound during and after the killings. She said the soldiers first used knifes and cutlasses on their victims before they opened fire after they were ordered by their commanders.

All through the night till the break of dawn, the victim recounted, bullets were fired at them amidst screams from the refugees for the soldiers to spare their lives. She said during the massacre only her and her junior sister survived the killings from a host of family members that sought refuge on the church's compound.
Testifying Monday at the opening of the commemoration program, another survivor, James Dogolea said he witnessed the soldiers raped and killed the women even after they requested them to declare their belongings and pay ransom to save their lives.

Dogolea: "After they left the church, they went to the school building, where the women and children were housed.

They ordered the women to declare their belongings and told them all the men had been killed.

The women were rushing to show the little money they had, thinking that giving the money could free them. I could hear them, here my own here, here my own here. After they collected whatsoever they demanded, they raped the women and started to kill them."

Hundreds of women, children and men who had taken refuge in the church were massacred on Sunday, July 29, 1990.

Initial reports at the time of the massacre put the death toll at 200 to 300 but survivors of the attack said troops had broken into the church and killed men, women, children and babies with knives, guns and cutlasses.

Witnesses said at least 600 refugees were killed putting the number of refugees in the church at 2,000.

Reports said a group of 30 soldiers firing machine guns stormed the church compound and fired point blank at some of the 2,000 refugees who had been there since National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) rebel forces reached the capital.

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