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AFL Soldiers Committed Lutheran Church Massacre...Retired Major Boi Bleeju Boi

Soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia committed the July 29, 1990 St. Peter's Lutheran Church Massacre, Boi Bleeju Boi, a former officer of the army said.

Self-styled General Bleeju Boi, former vice chairman of the defunct rebel Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL) said he was convinced that the AFL committed the massacre because the army controlled the area where the church is located.

Mr. Boi, also spokesman of the former MODEL group said that the failure of the government of President Samuel Kanyon Doe and the AFL high command to take punitive actions against the perpetrators following the massacre further convinced him that the killings were committed by the army.

He said that it was impossible for rebel enemy forces to have infiltrated areas controlled by the army, carry out the massacre and escape without the notice of the army.

Gen. Bleeju Boi, who was a major in the AFL during the massacre was testifying Monday at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia ongoing Thematic and Institutional Inquiry Public Hearing on the Contemporary History of the Conflict at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion in Monrovia.

Mr. Boi added that the stretch of territories within which the Lutheran Church is located was controlled by units of the AFL under the command of Captain Yonbu Tailey. He said that elements within the AFL must have carried out the massacre.

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

Witnesses said the slayings were carried out by troops loyal to then President Samuel K. Doe, whose government was under a ferocious rebel siege in the capital.

Initial reports put the death toll at 200 to 300 but witnesses said at least 600 refugees were killed. Survivors of the attack said Government troops had broken into the Church, in Sinkor and killed men, women, children and babies with knives, guns and cutlasses.

They said a group of 30 soldiers firing machine guns had broken the door and fired point blank at some of the 2,000 refugees who had been there since 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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