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In Rivercress, LPC War Excesses Uncovered

RIVERCRESS (TRC)?Testifying Wednesday at Public Hearings in Cestos City, the witness Frances King said after beheading her brother's two-month-old baby, the fighters threw the headless body into a river.

Sobbing profusely Frances explained that following the killings, the fighters also threw her two-month-old baby on a dump pile. She said however, that after the fighters left she rescued the baby, who accompanied her during her appearance before the TRC.

She explained that during the raid the fighters also killed her sister-in-law by pounding her head with a stick. Frances testified that after murdering her, they also killed her husband's entire family.

Frances said the fighters were led by McDonald Tarpeh, now serving as a district commissioner in Sinoe County.

Meanwhile, fighters of the LPC led by the late General Augustine Zor massacred 40 inhabitants of the towns of Wrobo and Zoryeah during their occupation of Rivercess County in 1993 and1994, witnesses told TRC commissioners.

One of the witnesses, Elijah Wrobo said that in 1993, fighters of the LPC under the command of Gen. Zor raided Wrobo Town and slaughtered 27 inhabitants.

According to Elijah, the mass killings were ordered by Zor who led the fighters. During the raid, he explained, the fighters burned down the entire town, raped some of the women and conscripted several young men.

He explained that among the dead were his father, mother, sisters and brothers.

Also testifying, Edward Zoryeah said LPC fighters under the command of Gen. Zor also raided Zoryeah Town in 1995 and massacred 13 male inhabitants.

Edward said during the killings, the fighters said they carried out the massacre as retribution because National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) Gen. Roland Duo and forces previously used the town as a military base to repel the LPC from Kambo's Town, Rivercess County.

When the fighters entered the town, Zoryeah explained, they requested all the male inhabitants to assemble in a palaver hut to meet their commander.

He explained that after they assembled, Gen. Zor ordered the fighters to open fire and kill all the men.

"They then started the killings and after the shooting 13, our brothers were lying dead around the palaver hut," Zoryeah testified.

After the massacre, he said the fighters burned some of the inhabitants alive when they set all the houses in the town ablaze before they left.

The TRC is an independent body set up to investigate the root causes of the Liberian crisis, document human rights violations, review the history of Liberia, and put all human rights abuses that occurred during the period from 1979 to 2003 on record. The TRC mandate is to also identify victims and perpetrators and make recommendations on amnesty, prosecution and reparation.

Public hearings in rural Liberia under the theme: "Confronting Our Difficult Past For A Better Future," resumed Tuesday in Cestos City.

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