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Prince Johnson Ready To Face The TRC

Former defunct Independent National Patriotic Front Liberia (INPFL) leader Prince Johnson has denied ever vowing to not appear before Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

"I have never said I will not face TRC. I have been misquoted that I said I will not face the TRC. That is completely false. As a matter of fact I will be appearing before the TRC on August 26," the Senior Senator of Nimba County said attracting huge round of applaud from the audience.

Johnson was speaking at the St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Sinkor Monday where he and Nimba County Junior Senator Adolphus Dolo joined hundreds of worshippers who attended a special commemoration organized by the TRC and the Lutheran Church in Liberia for victims and survivors of the July 29, 1990 St. Peter's Lutheran Church Massacre.

Mr. Johnson said he will appear before the TRC without precondition, adding, "Liberians are yearning for the truth about the war and not who carried placards or was a founding member of ULIMOD."

The senator vowed to fully cooperate with the TRC because it was ratified by law and being a law abiding citizen, no one is above the law.
But he cautioned there should be no sacred cows during the process. "Let all those big elephants that organized and financed the war be brought before the TRC.

The commission should not only invite us the military commanders and leave out those political giants and big names that were responsible for planning this war," Gen. Johnson said.

He said most of those subpoenaed to appear along with him are all military commanders and those who were prime financiers and politicians who played a leading role in the conflict must equally appear.
Johnson urged the TRC to invite everyone who one way or the other participated in the war to tell their stories.

He added that TRC is not about coming to explain one's part in the war or telling a story but equally meeting the victims of the war.
"I have received a letter from the honorable chairman of the TRC that during the statement taking process, lot of victims complained me for alleged atrocities committed against them, so I am prepared to face my accusers, Prince Johnson said.

He said he would be prepared to go to a forum where there are also victims where he will apologize if he committed atrocities against 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.

Senator Adolphus Dolo, also a victim of the massacre, expressed his willingness also to testify before the commission on August 26, the date Johnson said he would appear.

Dolo said it was a difficult decision to attend the program in the church, in reference to the horrifying experiences he and others had.

Weeping profusely during the solemn ceremony, Dolo said in his testimony he will outline his role in the civil conflict and reasons why he became a combatant.

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