Press Releases

Taylor's Fighters Massacred Hundred In Kolahun...ATU Radio Operator Testified

Montserrado County, Liberia
02 February, 2009
Categorized as pertaining to: Hearings

Monrovia, February 3, 2009: Government fighters loyal to exile President Charles Taylor in 2002 massacred hundreds of civilians in Kolahun District, Lofa County, an officer of the defunct Anti Terrorist Unit (ATU) said.

William K. Singbe, then communication officer of the disbanded ATU said during the Christmas Season massacre fighters loyal to Mr. Taylor descended on the district from several axis killing civilians in several towns and villages in Kolahan.

Code named "Operation No Living Thing," Singbe said the massacre was planned in Monrovia with the approbation of President Taylor.

He said the fighters led by then government general frontline commander Benjamin Yeaten converged on the district killing innocent civilians in their hundreds.

He was testifying Tuesday at the ongoing public hearings of the TRC at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion in Monrovia.

"The massacre was planned right here in Monrovia. It was the December Christmas Season massacre. They planned to eliminate the people of Kolahun because they believed our people were supporting LURD."

Singbe, then lieutenant in the ATU, named those who executed the massacre as dreaded former government frontline commanders Joseph Mazzah alias "Zigzag Mazzah," Roland Duo, one Stanley, Captain Blama, "Chinese Japer" and others.

The fighters, he said, opened fire on defenseless civilians in the towns of Popalahun, Kambolahun, Kamatahun, Balahun, Massabolahun and other villages killing hundreds of people.

He said the intent of the planners and killers were to considerably eliminate citizens of Kolahun with the perception that such an operation would cripple the military power of advancing LURD rebels.

The former radio operator said that during one of the mass killings a major bridge in the district collapse leading to the death of hundreds of fleeing civilians who were being pursued by the fighters.

During the operations, Singbe said the military high command of the then government forces barred him temporarily from performing his function as radio operator.

Liberia is recovering from years of conflict that was characterized by horrific human rights violations, including arbitrary killings, use of child combatants, rape and sexual violence, separation of families, and looting and destruction of properties. Out of a population of 3 million, an estimated 300,000 Liberians were killed, with as many as 1.5 million displaced.

Under the theme: "Understanding the Conflict Through its Principal Events and Actors," the ongoing hearings are addressing the root causes of the conflict, including its military and political dimensions.

The hearings are focused on events between 1979 and 2003 and the national and external actors that helped to shape those events.

The TRC was agreed upon in the August 2003 peace agreement and created by the TRC Act of 2005. The TRC was established to "promote national peace, security, unity and reconciliation," and at the same time make it possible to hold perpetrators accountable for gross human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law that occurred in Liberia between January 1979 and October 2003.

Signed: _______________________
Mambu James Kpargoi
Media & Information Officer

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