Press Releases

Statement By The Maryland Women Association

TRC Holds First Thematic And Institutional Hearings

At the end of Nationwide Public Hearings in Harper, Maryland County, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Liberia held its first Thematic and Institutional Hearings with various civil society and institutional groupings presenting statements.

Two organizations, the Maryland Development Association and Maryland Women Association, presented separate statements outlining atrocities committed by various warring factions that occupied the county during the Liberian civil conflict and made recommendations on their development needs and on how to attain national reconciliation in Maryland County. See verbatim full texts of statements below:

Statement By The Maryland Development Association
Presented by: Nathaniel S. Toe, Jr.

Topic: "Reconciliation: The Way Forward To Genuine Peace In Liberia"

After more than 150 years of socio-economic and political decade, more than 10,000 Liberians took the street in 1979, in protest of the reduction of the price of rice. The demonstration led to the death of several Liberians and created serious economic problems which many believe is the turning point to the so-call peaceful Liberian which existed before 1979. Even though the native Sieh Brownell Commission constituted by the Liberian government to investigate the attribution of the demonstration found the government of Liberian in the wrong, violence remained prevalent in Liberia up to 2005. The question of who is responsible for the problem in Liberian and why the problem continues to linger on the minds of many Liberians.

For the Maryland development association our approach is aimed at critically examining the causes of the problem with focus on district to districted approach as well as the county and country. It is note worthy to indicate that Maryland county witness massive destruction during the war.

Pleebo Soloke District

The people of Pleebo Soloke District suffered major marginalization and economic deprivation. About 75% of the land in Pleebo is being occupied by plantations without just benefit for the people. Decoris occupied about 15,000 acres of land CRC occupied more 15,000 acres; Libsuco occupied more that 10,000 acres. Concession agreements are normally between the central government and the company. There has been no room left for benefit for the people who owned the land for more 200 years. The people of Pleebo Soloke district have no land to farm on. They are reduced to tapping as long as they live as the means of survival. The rental and other taxes go directly to government farming is practical impossible in Pleebo.

Barobo District

The Barobo District has the largest forest in Maryland County and has produce several million dollars worth of logs to various companies but is yet to have farm to market road.

Karluway District

The Karluway District continue to boast of been the second highest producer of logs but is yet to have a high school, people in Karluway district are still living in destitution.

Harper District

Despite the fact that Harper host the superintendent and all county officials, the issues of land dispute between the two chiefdom continue to be the issue for central discussion government for the past 30 years government have fail to excessively settle the Nyemoweh and Kromower dispute.

The war from 1980 - 2005

By 1980, the Liberian government was overthrow many Liberian believed at the time that the government was overthrown by 13 men but today an appreciable level of the population hold the view including the late Tolbert wife that the govermtn3e was overthrown by the western power particularly America. Almost the entire cabinet was killed by the military junta which received about 500 million from the United States government.

On November 12, 1985 after the coup of Thomas Quiwonkpa, Mr. Everton Jah, Patrick Wreh, Bleede Saba and several Marylanders were arrested, mad treated and taken to Grand Gedeh were they spent more than two months in prison for no justifiable reason.

In 1990, the superintended of Maryland County David Y Hne was mercilessly beaten by Gio Devil of NPFL soldiers. The superintendent suffered internal bleeding and sight problem until his death. In 1994, S.K. Messeh was exterminated by the NPFL.

On September 12, 1994, Samuel Bloh martin and several Marylanders belonging to the Gedebo section were killed by the Liberian peace council. In 1995 Samuel Hodge, Marbel Jones, her four children, Janet Cooper, Clarence Cooper, Tolota were killed by the LPC with more than 100 innocent civilians.

In 1995, the chief of middle town and several of his kinsmen were killed by the LPC. The structures of Marylanders County suffered major destruction as the result of the war. The city hall building, administrative building, museum and several private structures were burnt by the LPC. Why MODEL and NPFL are responsible for the looting like former Gen. Moses Z. Blah looted the generator from the light house to Harper. The 1985 elections is considered in t he Maryland and Liberian history as one to the attributions to the death of many Liberian in Maryland county it was clearly established that the local elections were rack. This of course created mistrust between the people and government. The 1997 elections were also not free.

In an effort to reconcile of further reintegrate our disintegrated body politics; it is pivotal that the government of Liberia allow the rental fees for all plantations to go to the land owners or country people. It is also important that the government issues deeds to the interior people for land they have squatted on for more than fifty years.

Topic: "Reconciliation: The way To Peace And Development In Liberia"

For more than one hundred years, the rights of women were violated. Worst of these years was the period from 1990 to 2004.

During the period under review, women suffered brutal violations. These violations include insults, harassment, death rape and adoption, looting. These violations were perpetrated by the Arm Forces of Liberia, the NPFL, the LPC and the MODEL.

In March 1990, a group of arm men belonging to the Arm forces of Liberia under the command of Combat Nayou harassed a truck load of local commodities belonging to some women of the Liberian Marketing Association in Karloke Maryland County and made away with all the goods. Since such incrustation, harassment against women became the order o the day.

During the period under review all factions carried out similar acts which increased the poverty rate among women. Whenever harassment was carried, like combat Nayou soldiers insulted women.

The killings of women were also prevalent during the war. In 1995 Bay Natt a leading business woman of the Liberian Marketing Association and more than twenty women by the LPC on Cavalla Highway and all their belongs taken. Similarly in the same year at the Free Port of Harper Mabel Jones her four children and several women were killed by the LPC.

On September 12, 1994 Samuel Martin the District Education Officer for Karluway District and several women were eliminated by LPC in Gedebo Weteke.

Again in 1995 Jenet Cooper a female educator her husband and her son with more then 50 women were killed in Harper by the LPC. In Pleebo Maryland County, during the NPFL recapture for LPC more then 75 women were killed.

Rape was very prevalent during the period under review. Women were forced into sexual intercourse with soldiers belonging to the various factions against their well. Some women were forced to marry men they were not interested in. In 1994 Anna Cooper an outstanding female was raped by Colonel Strutor of the NPFL.

The burning and looting of buildings both private and public have left many women homeless and very poor. Most of the houses that were burned in the city of Harper and other towns in Maryland County were burnt by the LPC while NPFL are responsible for the looting. Even though the rights of the women were violated, we can not remain in war. We are obliged to promoting peace and reconciliation which is the recipe for development. As we work together in achieving peace it is hereby recommended that:

women empowerment ( gave women micro-credit)

Shelter (build housing units for women)

Education (provide education at all levels for women free)

Medical Concerns (due to the rape that went on and other sexual related violations we want the government and other international organizations to build medical facilities that will cater to the various medical problems faced by the women) these should be the priority of the government of Liberia and the international community at all levels.

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.