Press Releases

Day Three of the TRC Hearings

January 10, 2008

MONROVIA (TRC)?Nationwide hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia continued Thursday in Monrovia with three witnesses givng ghastly testimonies of their experiences during the country's civil conflict.

Beatrice Q. Tuazama, Gladys Arthur and Augustine S. Tuoplay stunned hundreds of Liberians gathered at the historic Centennial Memorial Pavilion, with stories of alleged atrocities committed against them and their relatives by various warring factions during the conflict. They were the third set of ten witnesses that have appeared since the hearings commenced Tuesday.

The first of Thursday's witnesses Beatrice Tuazama said a bullet entered her left leg when she was shot in Nimba County in 1990 by a National Patriotic Front of Liberia combatant because her husband was of the Mandingo tribe. She said a four-year-old girl, along with another person, was executed in her presence. Her case involves assault, killing and sexual abuse.

Gladys Arthur, the second witness, claimed that her mother was killed in her presence in Gardnerville, when rebels of the NPFL discovered huge sums of money left behind by her father, who was the paymaster for a company called Flamingo.

She explained that in 1990, before the arrival of the rebels at her home, soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia visited their residence and intimidated her father, causing him to flee and leave behind the money with which he intended to pay Flamingo employees' salaries.

"I tied the money around my waist but the rebels discovered it and then jailed my mother, twin brothers and me, taking away all the money," Gladys said.

She said the rebels, led by their commander Mango Miller, asked for a volunteer to be executed. Her mother volunteered and was killed.

Arthur said they later moved to Kakata City in Margibi County, where she was raped by Miller. She added that later, in Nimba County, Miller forced her to become his wife and dispatched her two brothers to stay with other families.

According to her, she later escaped to the Ivory Coast. She returned to Liberia and, at the request of her father, launched a search for her brothers. During the search, she said Miller demanded a sum of US$600.00 for their return, but until now, only one of them has been reunited with the family. The whereabouts of the other remains a puzzle. She is appealing to the TRC for the recovery of her missing brother. The nature of her case is killing, rape, abduction and extortion.

Thursday's last witness, Augustine Saybeah Touplay, claimed that in 1994, rebels of the Liberia Peace Council (LPC), killed his uncle and his wife in his presence in Sinoe County when the group captured the area.

He said that following the killings, he was abducted and forced to carry ammunition for the rebels from 1994 to 1997.

Touplay, whose testimony involves killing, torture, force displacement, force labor and destruction of properties, said he was forced to have sexual intercourse with a dead pregnant woman who died from hunger while in the rebels' captivity. He is calling for a reconciliation conference in Sinoe with the aim of restoring peace among the county's tribes.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is investigating and documenting Liberia's crisis riddled past from 1979 to 2003 during which an estimated 300,000 persons died.

The hearings which started Tuesday will last for the next six months until May 31st and will be held throughout the country. The public hearings in Monrovia will continued until January 31st before extending to Maryland County February for one week.

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