Press Releases



Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press,
Fellow citizens and friends.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia (TRC) is pleased to report that following persistent and pain-staking inquiry by the TRC, a boy, 21, has been reunited with his twin brother and elder sister following 18 years of separation.

On January 8, 2008, the sister, Gladys, appeared at the TRC's January Public Hearings in Monrovia and narrated how her late mother, Aba Arthur was beheaded in a gruesome murder before her very eyes in exchange for her own life and those of her twin brothers. The doer of the act, Mango Miller of the erstwhile National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL),separated the children. Gladys was sexually violated and subsequently abducted as a sexual slave of her mother's murderer. Her twin brothers were taken away, never to be seen again.

Before her mother was killed, the family said prayers and the mother madeGladys promise that she will take care of her brothers. She boldly appeared before the TRC, after several days of individual counseling, to tell her story in fulfillment of her promise to take care of her brothers. She informed the TRC that one of her brothers, Mark, was rescued with the help of Save the Children and that she had tried relentlessly to rescue her second brother without success and that the very perpetrator, Mango Miller, was demanding US$600.00 from her as a reward for returning her brother.

With this information, the demand for ransom and the clear commission of the crime of kidnapping,the Ministry of Justice was invited to handle the matter. Notwithstanding, the involvement of the Ministry of Justice did not relieve the TRC of its duties and obligations. We continuously engaged the Ministry of Justice and remained informed of the matter. Mango Miller was arrested. He promised to cooperate and was subsequently released.

Our inquiry revealed that the little boy was part of a group of over 500 children abducted by Miller in the 1990's and distributed to his many friends and relatives either as domestic or manual laborers on their farms or foster children. Hence, Miller could not be definite aboutthe whereabouts of the little boy. In short, the TRC became restless, but vigilant in our search for the missing kid. Our efforts eventually paid off when he was discovered on a farm and reconnected with his siblings. He had no idea his siblings were alive and when he met his sister for the first time in many years he became withdrawn and resentful believing his sister had abandoned him to die in the hands of strangers. He ran away. After several days of hot pursuit and counseling, he understood and is today present in Monrovia with his brother and sister. In the last 10 years of captivity he has matured in age and body but lacking in mental and intellectual development as he has had no formal education since captivity. Amelia and her brother are seated here with us and will make brief statements if they choose to do so. Miller, the perpetrator, is also present at this conference.

We are satisfied that today, Gladys' wishes have been realized and her promise to her heroic dead mother fulfilled. She, like many orphans who were naturally forced into early adulthood without any family support, needs assistance to continue her education disrupted by the war. We extend thanks to the Ministry of Justice for its initial assistance and all those who cooperated and facilitated our robust inquiry which has yielded this reunion.

Lastly, recent newspaper reports and radio broadcasts alleging financial inducement or bribery by the Commission or one of its Commissioners to extract false testimonies from a witness before the TRC Public Hearings in Monrovia warrant a response at the first opportunity. We categorically declare that these allegations are not only false and baseless but are also maliciously designed to intimidate the Commission and bring it into disrepute so as to influence its processes and the outcome of its work. The credibility of the Commission and its commitment to the impartial fulfillment of its mandate without fear or favor is beyond dispute and no amount of criminal coercion, political or financial pressure will subdue this Commission or thwart the course of its work.

We are not unaware that some elements in our society who oppose the reconciliation and peace process will stop at no measure to frustrate the work of the Commission. That they would allege the Commission or a Commissioner was engaged in bribery orinduced a witness to recant his testimony and commit perjury, points to the viciousness of individuals who refuse to acknowledge their past as the first step towards forgiveness, reconciliation and the restoration of their humanity. Instead they appear prepared to remain bereft of their humanity, conceal the truth from the Liberian people in order to derail an entire national process, only to assuage the ultra ego of some few. One may bury the corpses of all the innocent people who died during the conflict period, but one can never bury forever, the truth of what happened, and how thousands of Liberians and foreigners alike died as innocent victims of a devastating war.

It is of interest to note that these false allegations of bribery and inducement surfaced on the very eve of the TRC Public Hearings in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County. Not surprisingly, the public was apparently not aware that there were desperate attempts to influence the cancellation or postponement of the TRC hearings in Buchanan. Therefore, we were not surprised that the false allegations surfaced along with plans to disrupt the proceedings in Buchanan. Had it not been for the steadfastness of Commissioners, the vigilance of the security forces in Buchanan, including LNP and UNMIL, and the courageous stand of Grand Bassa Superintendent, Hon Julia P Duncan Cassell, those sinisterplans would have borne fruit. We salute the courage ofthe Superintendant of Grand Bassa County, and extend to her our thanks and appreciation for the hospitality she has so graciously accorded the TRC during its tour of duty in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County. We also extend appreciation to Hon Innis and Gabriel Smith of the Grand Bassa County Legislative Caucus who, despite the foregoing background, graced the occasion and called on their people to support the proceedings in Buchanan which are beyond the interest of any one individual and for the benefit of all Liberians.

We now call on all those who made these allegations to the mass media to go beyond the media and inform the TRC in writing of the bribery allegations so that a thorough investigation can be conducted and the truth of the allegations established for the benefit of the process and of all Liberians.

We want to also seize this moment to thank everyone for their continuous support to the TRC and assure the people of Liberia that we will remain faithful to our mandate and keep the process moving forward. We thank the Government of Liberia and the President of Liberia for all moral, political and financialsupport to the TRC and our international partners represented by the ICGL and other institutions for their institutional, logistical and resourceful support to the TRC to guarantee its success.

Lastly, we remain confident without any iota of doubt that all those personalities who, at one time or another played a leading role in the Liberian crisis from 1979 to 2003, irrespective of status or roles, will yield to the invitation of the TRC to appear before it when called upon without the use of compulsory process. The TRC is for all Liberians and will reach out to all Liberians. All Liberians must support it as part of our peace formula so that war and impunity will be things of the past.


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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.