Press Releases

TRC Public Hearings Commence In Grand Kru

February 18, 2008

BARCLAYVILLE (TRC)?The Nationwide Public Hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Liberia resumed Monday in Barclayville, Grand Kru County with a call for all Liberians to support the process.

In her opening statement, the superintendent of Grand Kru County, Honorable Rosalind T. Sneh` said the TRC process is geared towards the restoration of national healing and the lost dignity of the country and must therefore be embraced by all Liberians.

Speaking at the opening ceremony at the Barclayville Central High School, the hearing venue, Sneh said the TRC process will not only enhance national peace and security, but also foster good governance and the rule of law.

She noted that as the TRC Nationwide public hearings progress, Liberians must reflect on five basic questions: "who, what, when, why and how things happened during the years of conflict," adding, "we cannot as a people, enter our future without retrospecting on our difficult past."

She appealed to all perpetrators to take advantage of the TRC process and come forward to recount their roles in the civil conflict which is the best way forward to achieve national reconciliation and healing.

She promised that maximum security would be provided as the TRC carried on the public hearings in Grand Kru County.

TRC vice chairperson commissioner Dede Dolopei expressed thanks and appreciation to the superintendent and other stakeholders in the county for their warmest support of the TRC.

Commissioner Dolopei said the TRC was established to enhance national unity, security, peace and reconciliation and called on all Liberians to embrace the process.

Testifying Monday, a victim Linda N. Komah said fighters of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) raided their town, Bakoko, and killed scores of people in 1994.

The victim explained that when the NPFL fighters were repulsed from the town by fighters of the Liberia Peace Council (LPC), they conscripted civilians to join them during which time her father and brothers were killed and several residents were severely tortured.

She disclosed that John Sattee, who was the commander of the LPC fighters, killed two children and eight of her relatives in her presence. She appealed to the TRC for assistance to recover from the trauma of the war.

Another witness, Amos C. Nyeka, said that in 1994 LPC fighters led by General Toe forced residents including chiefs and elders of the District of Trihn to climb a tree with an army of ants. They were held captive there for two hours.

He explained that during their ordeal with the fighters, 14 persons were summarily executed, adding that the fighters looted cattle and other valuables.

Nyeka, 41, claimed that in 2003 fighters of the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL), under the command of Gen. William Toe, also captured the area, mistreated their inhabitants and looted their cattle.

He explained that three different fighting forces, the NPFL, LPC and MODEL, occupied the area at different intervals and committed atrocities.

Mr. Nyeka called on victims of the civil war to forgive perpetrators who voluntarily confessed guilt of atrocities committed against them.

Also testifying Monday, Alexander Sieh Quiah, said NPFL fighters, under the command of Gen. David Diah, raided the town of Benwon, Trihn District and looted valuables and cattle in 1993.

When fighters of the LPC captured the town in 1995, said Quiah, 44. They opened fire randomly, and three of his brothers were killed.

He also claimed that in 2003 fighters of MODEL captured the town and extorted money and other valuables from him and other inhabitants while his pregnant sister was flogged by the fighters.

Quiah said he was tied for two hours leaving him nearly handicapped.

The husband of two wives and father of seven revealed that MODEL fighters forcibly conscripted young male and female inhabitants of the town to join their ranks.

Also testifying Monday, Mwah Nagbe said that after capturing Sasstown in 1994, fighters of the LPC killed his sister, Beatrice Ndobo, and uncle, Myers Dugbe, burned the town down and forced the inhabitants to flee into the bushes.

Nagbe said, "After the fighters entered the town following heavy shooting we ran into the bush only to return and find of town burned completely."

Stanley Wilson of Trihn District said LPC fighters, under the command of Gen. Tiger, killed his father and mother after they attacked their town.

"Besides my father and mother, three other relatives were killed by the fighters who entered the town while we were asleep," he explained.

Wilson, 34, disclosed that the fighters who captured their town in 2003 subjected the inhabitants to forced labor, harassment, intimidation and looted all of their belongings.

Also recounting stories of atrocities committed against them by the various warring factions at Monday's hearing were Sunday Poe, Sarah Nyeka, Sieh W. Weah and James Weah Trueh.

The TRC is an independent body set up to investigate the root causes of the crisis, document human rights violations, review the history of Liberia, and to 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.

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