The New Dawn (Monrovia)

30 October 2012

Cote d'Ivoire: Gbagbo's Mercenaries Jailed in Liberia

Photo: Glenna Gordon/UNHCR
An Ivorian refugee gets a lift on a motorbike taxi to Zwedru in southeastern Liberia.

Contrary to the Liberian Government's denials of media speculations, linking some Liberians to the Cote d'Voire crisis, at least two Liberians have been jailed at the Monrovia Central Prison or South Beach for alleged criminal facilitation and para-military activities in the neighboring country.

Suspects Ophoree Diah, ex-general of the rebel Liberians United for Reconstruction and Democracy (LURD) and Alfred Bobby James, Jr. were arrested in Ganta, Nimba County on October 15 and 20, 2012 respectively, following months of claims and counter-claims about some Liberians engaging in crossed border rebel activities to facilitate the destabilization of Ivory Coast.

Besides condemning the media reports, the government had strongly denied a United Nations Panel of Experts report in which members of the UN Panel claimed to have identified several Ivorian rebel training bases in Eastern Liberia.

The Liberian Government insists that its territories will not be used by anyone to destabilize the security of any other country, including Ivory Coast, noting that instability in Cote d'Ivoire means instability here.

Prior to the Sirleaf administration first term in office, a police charge sheet claimed that in 2004, [the ex- LURD rebel general] Ophoree Diah admitted to being introduced to a mission by some unknown men called Abeneko, Garand, Blayaja Boae, Junior Toway and James Barbopet, Jr.

On the first phase of their mission to fight for ousted Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo in 2004, police investigation established that defendant Diah confessed receiving 60m CFA from a man believed to be President Gbagbo's pastor only identified as Remmie along with the above listed defendants.

But police however say Diah denied receiving US$100,000.00 from defendant Jackson Didier, while admitting to have travelled to Singapore, Ghana and Dubai to buy guns and ammunitions.

Of the CFA 60m, Diah allegedly received 2.5m CFA as his share and subsequently returned to Liberia to disassociate himself from the mission, while co-suspects Alfred Bobby James, SarpeeTarley received 300m CFA for the facilitation of the mission.

As for defendant Alfred Bobby James, Jr. (alias Bobby Sarpee), police investigators say he admitted to being aware of a mercenary group led by Nyezee Barway that attacked Para on 14th March 2012 and killed seven UN peacekeepers, FRCI Soldier, civilians and raped women and girls, among others.

He also allegedly named the mercenary group's financiers as Jackson Didier-Gbago and his father (unidentified) along with a list of individuals linked to oust President Laurent Gbagbo, currently indicted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for war crimes.

Defendant Alfred told investigators he paid US$1,400.00 to suspects Nyezee Barway, Isaac Cheabo US$500.00, and a motorcyclist Morris Cole US$500.00, respectively.

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