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US & Other Countries Directly Fuelled Crisis...Cyril Allen

The US and other countries were directly involved in fuelling the crisis in Liberia, Chief Cyril Allen, an executive of the defunct National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) has said.

Allen, chairman emeritus of the National Patriotic Party (NPP), a political offspring of the NPFL said the US and other powerful countries supported, aided and abetted the crisis in the beginning and continued to support it.

"They provided advice, support and all. They brought in Firestone and LAC, American companies that were encouraged or supported by their governments or by influential members of their government," Mr. Allen said.

The former managing director of the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company (LPRC) and chair of the National Investment Commission (NIC) was testifying Wednesday at the ongoing TRC Institutional and Thematic Inquiry Public Hearing on the Contemporary History of the Conflict at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion in Monrovia.

Mr. Allen said these companies continued to operate in Liberia during the crisis under the pretext of protecting their plantations adding that they were working to ensure that they were still shipping rubber to support workers at their rubber processing plants in the US State of Ohio.

"These groups, countries, concessions and individuals were all involved for their personal interests and those people who had personal interests for whatever reasons they had did come in and did support the revolution to whatever extent."

No one, Mr. Allen cautioned should now pretend that they are clean and that they were not part of the crisis or only participated through surrogates.

He said all of these countries, companies and concessions played major roles in fuelling the crisis in Liberia.

Mr. Allen said what they wanted was for the NPFL to continue to operate and hold territories so that they can operate their businesses freely, saying, "in doing that they were supportive of whatever that happened."

He said that during several peace conferences, when these foreign powers did not feel comfortable for the country to be united, they would influence the factions to derail the negotiations.

"Certain times when there were conferences and they did not feel comfortable that the country should be united under one umbrella they would say let the peace talk breakdown."

He said several peace talks to end the Liberian crisis broke down because of the selfish interests of multinational corporations.

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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