Press Releases

Who Massacred 369 Civilians In Glaro? Survivors Recount Experiences at TRC Hearing

February 26, 2008

FISH TOWN (TRC)?Chilling accounts of the massacre in 2003 of hundreds of inhabitants of the town of Glaro, River Gee County have been heard by commissioners of Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

In 2003, according to witnesses, militiamen loyal to former president Charles Taylor rounded up 369 inhabitants of Glaro and massacred them at various locations in River Gee County.

The killings, witnesses appearing before the TRC ongoing Public Hearings in Fish Town City, River Gee County, said were ordered by former Maryland County superintendent Dan Morias and General William Sumo.

Five years later, the killings have become the focus of an investigation by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which is Liberia's way of trying to make amends for the horrors of the country from 1979 to 2003. Now full disclosures of what became known as the Glaro Massacre are being made public.

Samuel B. Chea, Sr., former stipendiary magistrate now revenue judge of River Gee County, told TRC commissioners Monday that the massacre was carried out by fighters of the "Mountain Lions Brigade" of former president Taylor's government.

According to Chea, the massacre was planned and executed by one Captain Paye Suah, Major Nelson Paye and others under the supervision of former superintendent Dan Morias and General William Sumo. He explained that at separate intervals pickup loads of Glaro inhabitants were killed at different locations including River Gbeh junction. He said the bones of the victims can still be found in the area. At one point in time, Chea said, the fighters executed the assistant stipendiary magistrate of the county, Joseph Watkins and several prominent citizens of the area.

"Mr. Watkins was killed because we belong to the same tribe (Glaro), besides being opposed to using the district as launch pad for attacks against the Ivory Coast," Mr. Chea testified.

He said that because the people of Glaro refused to cooperate with the government fighters, they (the fighters) began an attack on unarmed inhabitants leading to the murder of 369 of them. The witness said the massacre in the Glaro villages and towns were made possible by arms shipped into Liberia by road to the county by Lebanese businessman Abbas Fawaz, manager of MWPI, a logging company that operated in River Gee and Maryland Counties.

Martha Watkins, wife of the murdered assistant stipendiary magistrate, revealed that her husband and two others, Amos Chea and Amos Nyenoh were arrested and killed by the government militia after they refused to organize a defense force in Glaro.

She said following her husband's and others' arrests, Gen. Sumo ordered fighters under his command to disembowel her for incessantly pleading for her husband. She said her husband and the others were taken to a jail in Fish Town, and days later when Sumo arrived, were bundled in a pickup and led to their executions.

Martha explained that another militiaman, Zico Dalieh, now deputy station manager for Gee Radio in Fish Town, killed dozens of other Glaro inhabitants including a pregnant woman with three young children. Watkins explained that before Dalieh murdered his victims, he cut off their ears before sending them for execution.

Before one of the executions, she said, Dalieh nailed the legs and palm of one of his victims before killing him.

The widow said most of the killings were sanctioned by former superintendent Morias, "Dan Morias was commander for South Eastern Liberia. Dan Morias sent defense force in the bush to arrest people and they were killed."

She testified that following the detention of her husband in Fish Town, she pleaded with Morias to release him but he refused. Morias now serves as ambassador-at-large.

Cclic This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
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.