19 April 2019

Liberia: Ex-Rebel Generals Storm Temple of Justice

Photo: Leadership
Court gavel

... Send onlookers scurrying for safety

Normal court activities at the Temple of Justice on Thursday, April 18, 2019, came to a temporary halt when several ex-generals from three defunct rebel factions and the disbanded Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) stormed the courtyard in two jeeps, one of them, a white jeep bearing markings indicating it is assigned to the Ministry of State and the other, a black jeep without license plates.

They disembarked the vehicles in such military style and fashion that was clearly meant as a show of force but which frightened people, mainly party litigants and had them scurrying for safety.

Later, Court staff informed the terrified onlookers that the appearance of the ex-rebel generals at the Temple of Justice courtyard was a result of an invitation from Montserrado County Attorney Edward Kla Martin, who is an employee of the Ministry of Justice (MOJ).

Cllr. Martin claimed to have invited the ex-rebel generals to provide clarity on the 72-hour ultimatum they issued for Montserrado County District#10 Representative, Yekeh Kolubah, to report to their office, (no location), failing which, they (ex-generals) rebels will bring him to "justice" by force.

Following several hours of closed door discussion in Cllr. Martin's office, the ex-rebel generals through their spokesperson, Augustine Nagbe, alias "General Power," in a short interview with judicial reporters, expressed regret about the 72-hour ultimatum issued to the lawmaker.

Gen. Power said, "we were only telling our brother and former general, Kolubah, to come to us so we can advise him that his threatening statement against the state and the government was wrong, and therefore, he should refrain from making such a statement. But we did not intend to arrest our former general," Power claimed.

General Power continued, "and if our statement does not go down well with the Liberian people, we want to retract the statement and say sorry to the Liberian people. We don't mean any harm. This is the same word we told the county attorney."

But observers believe the statement of apology was staged managed to convey a false impression that the ex-generals were indeed remorseful for their action. A lawyer present at the scene (name withheld) told the Daily Observer that ex-rebel general Augustine Nagbe was a very notorious character who terrorized his own people in West Point. He confirmed the story of a woman who testified before the TRC and accused Nagbe of forcing her at gun point to eat a large can of feces.

Meanwhile, reports reaching the Daily Observer say the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) plans to convene an urgent security council meeting on Friday, April 19, 2019 to discuss rising security tensions in Liberia.

ECOWAS says they are concerned about the "regrouping of ex-fighters in Liberia."

It can be recalled that talk show host Henry Costa had posted a video on the social media platform, Facebook, showing a group of men doing military training on a local beach in Monrovia under the watch of ex-rebel generals. Although government officials have since denied any links whatsoever to the group, the recent convening of a press conference presided over by virtually the same crop of ex-generals have only served to reinforce public perceptions of official endorsement of their activities.

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