The New Dawn (Monrovia)

Liberia: Bong Mourns Taylor Verdict

Bong County — Bongeses are reported to be mourning the guilty verdict of former President Charles G. Taylor handed down last Thursday, April 26, by the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone sitting in The Hague.

Many residents in the central Liberian town of Gbarnga and its surroundings broke down in tears for former President Taylor after Judge Richard Lussick of the Republic of Samoa read the ruling.

Gbarnga, Bong County once served as the headquarters of the defunct National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), the military wing of the United States-based Association for Constitutional Democracy in Liberia or ACDL.

According to Correspondent Jefferson Massah, many Bongese were glued to their radio sets, while others crowded cinemas and video clubs to watch the process live from The Hague.

"Papay, you told us that 'God willing, you will be back'. Is this the way you're leaving us? Anyway, it's man's own judgment; God knows the truth. We shall meet face-to-face one day," a dejected former general in one video club said in tears as others sadly looked on.

Some had already camped at these video clubs after it was announced by the BBC the day before that the ruling would be broadcast radio and television worldwide beginning at 9am (GMT) which was 11am Dutch time.

Minutes following the guilty verdict, Gbarnga residents experienced a strange phenomenon as the early morning sunny weather became very mal with the sun completely in the middle of a rainbow just as it was in Monrovia and other parts of the country for several minutes during and following the broadcast.

Some claimed that the nation was mourning the decision of the International Court against their former president; other said that justice was being aborted, and that it was only God's intervention that could have set Taylor free.

Prophet James Gbanequelleh told The New Dawn correspondent in Gbarnga that he would stage a one week 'dry fast' to safe the nation from the pending danger in the aftermath of the verdict.

Expressing their concern about the timing of the ruling by the Special Court, many harbored the belief that it was actually a "gift for the Sierra Leoneans" because the announcement was made on the eve of their Independence Day which was last Friday, April 27.

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