Press Releases

Day Four of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia Public Hearings

Five persons recount their experiences during the Liberian civil conflict.

January 14, 2008

MONROVIA (TRC)? The national public hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia entered the fourth day Monday in Monrovia with five persons recounting their experiences during the Liberian civil conflict.

Two of the five testifiers were perpetrators, Eugene Gray and Emmett Gray. In his testimony, Eugene Gray said he fought for the defunct National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) and later joined the Special Operations Division (SOD) of the Liberia National Police.

Eugene Gray, 29, recounted the many atrocities ranging from massacres, rape and looting he committed while fighting for the NPFL in Grand Cape Mount and Bomi Counties.

Gray informed the nine member commissioners and the audience that he was forced to join the NPFL due to the arrest of his mother by ULIMO in 1994. He also accused her of being a spy for the NPFL and detained for two days in Grand Cape Mount.

He further narrated that his older brother was also arrested for not cutting his hair well by a man identified as "Papa" of the ULIMO. He was to be executed but was forgiven following numerous appeals from Papa's fighters.

Gray said that while he was with the SOD he and his colleagues were given strict orders by high ranking officers of the Liberia National Police to invade the campus of the University of Liberia to disperse students from under the palaver hut while having a rally in September, 2002.

Taking the witness stand, Emmett Gray, a twin brother of Eugene said he fought for ULIMO -J and MODEL respectively. He noted that while with ULIMO - J, he served as a body guard to the late Roosevelt Johnson who was the head of the organization.

Emmett, 29, also informed the gathering that many atrocities were committed by ULIMO - J in Monrovia and its environs on April 6, 1996 and September 18, 1998 respectively. He maintained that he was among the fighters that escorted Roosevelt Johnson and others to the American embassy when the government forces of former president Charles Taylor and ULIMO - J were battling in Monrovia.

Emmett disclosed that after the September 18, 1998 fighting in Monrovia, he along with other ULIMO -J fighters escaped to the Ivory Cost, where MODEL was organized at the peace camp in Guiglo, a Liberian refugee camp.

He explained that it was at the refugee camp that he was recruited to join MODEL in 2003 as they were compensated with CFA 20,000 each, an equivalent of US$40.00 initially. He said MODEL's first attack was Toe Town, Grand Gedeh County where they ambushed a vehicle belonging to the Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA) and killed all of its occupants.

He said their second attack was a transport vehicle which was heading from Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County to Monrovia. No one was killed, but they looted the belongings and beat-up the occupants of the vehicle.

The twin brothers have meanwhile expressed regrets for their involvement in the Liberian civil conflict and asked the Liberian people's forgiveness.

Another witness, Boima Monabala, said he was arrested and stripped naked for weeks by ULIMO-K headed by Alhaji Kromah in March 1995. He said it happened that when they woke-up one morning only to see a rocket-propelled grenade over their heads. When they wanted to run the fighters told them not to.

Monabala, 39, explained that both men and women were stripped naked with their hands tied behind them and massacred, raped and tortured by ULIMO-K.

Manobala said he witnessed the cutting of 39 people's throats. He and other survivors are appealing to government through TRC for the reburial of the dead.

In his testimony, Old man Momo Gray said in June 1996 while he and his brother-in-law were returning from the farm, they saw their town ablaze as people were burned alive in their houses, despite an appeal from an inhabitant, Fulani. Fulani was branded as anti ULIMO-K and mistreated as well.

Old man Gray claimed that he knew five of the ULIMO-K fighters who carried out the massacre and that they were still in the community. He said that when he sees Alhaji Kromah today, he will ask him whether or not he is a human being because of the manner in which Gray and other town people were treated by Kromah's troops.

The day's last witness, Joseph N. Gailor, recounted the Lutheran Church massacre when he and his aunt took refuge there during height of the civil in early 1990. He said one night, he saw some AFL soldiers mostly of the Krahn ethnic group, who took people away, never return.

Gailor claimed although he was small at the time, but he could recollect his aunt saying that the President Doe visited the area that night, but he did not see Doe in person.

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