Press Releases

There Were Arms & Ammunition In Lutheran Church...Says Massacre Was Executed By Capt. Tailey

Montserrado County, Liberia
27 November, 2008
Categorized as pertaining to: Hearings

Truck loads of arms, ammunitions and military hardware were recovered from the St. Peter's Lutheran Church compound following the July 29, 1990 massacre, former Transitional Speaker George Dweh claimed.

He said soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia led by Captain Yonbu Tailey massacred hundreds of civilians in the Church because there was military hardware stored in the compound.

Mr. Dweh told commissioners of Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Thursday that Captain Tailey led soldiers to the church after intercepting an NPFL radio communication in Paynesville that the church was being used as launching pad for a planned attack on the Executive Mansion.

Mr. Dweh was testifying at the ongoing public hearings of the TRC at Monrovia's historic Centennial Memorial Pavilion.

"Doe and I never went to the Lutheran Church. That is a lie. Doe will never go to a church and kill people. Following the massacre, Doe was angry with Tailey. He told him that he had destroyed him internationally," the former transitional speaker who was accused of participating in the killings said.

He said President Doe ordered the arrest of Tailey but he displayed a truck full of arms, ammunitions and uniforms recovered from the church.

"Doe ordered General David Nimely to arrest and detain Tailey pending court martial, but Tailey showed a truck full of arms, ammunition, red berets, uniforms and boots he took from the church. What were they doing there?"

Dweh however admitted that Tailey was a death squad commander who was feared because of his spiritual powers.

Hundreds of women, children and men who had taken refuge in the church were massacred on Sunday, July 29, 1990.

Initial reports at the time of the massacre put the death toll at 200 to 300. Survivors of the attack said troops had broken into the church and killed men, women, children and babies with knives, guns and cutlasses. Witnesses said at least 600 refugees were killed putting the number of refugees in the church at 2,000.

Reports said a group of 30 soldiers firing machine guns stormed the church compound around 8:30 pm and fired point blank at some of the 2,000 refugees who had been there since National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) rebel forces reached the capital.

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.

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This had been the official website of the Liberian TRC. The Commission ended operation
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