Liberia: "Touch One Touch All"

Court gavel

-Declares PYJ; As Liberian Warlords Warn Citizens And World-At-Large About Toying With Establishment Of War Crime Court

One of Liberia's former renowned and most feared warlords during the 14-year senseless civil war which witnessed ruthless carnage and reckless mayhem, Field Marshall Prince Y. Johnson (PYJ) has sounded a stern warning that those who are threatening Liberian civil war generals with the establishment of a war crimes court in the country or elsewhere to be cognizant that any attempt to touch one of them is tantamount to touching all of them.

Mr. Prince Y. Johnson, who is now Senator of NIimba County, was responding to all his detractors including the agents and advocates of the establishment of a war crimes court who continue to lash out against his persistent and consistent outburst about the war crime court scare. According to him, he is not the only warlord in the country.

He said, he has been playing such role because he has been appointed by the others (Liberian warlords) to be their spokesman regarding issues bordered on the war crime court saga and their indictment.

In his sermon delivered on Sunday, September 1, 2019 at his established church in Monrovia, Senator Johnson also an Evangelist of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, explained that all the former faction leaders excluding the jailed for 50-year warlord Charles Ghankay Taylor of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), met at his (PYJ's) house although he did not say when, and drafted a joint-resolution spelling out that if anyone or force touches one of them it means that it is all of them that person or establishment has touched.

Sen. Johnson noted that present at the meeting were all faction leaders beginning with Grand Gedeh County's Representative George S. Boley of LPC; former Foreign Minister Thomas Yaya Nimely of MODEL; Sekou Damateh Conneh of LURD, Alhaji V. G. Kromah of ULIMO-K including himself, Nimba County's Senator Prince Y. Johnson of the INPFL

He added that during the meeting and drafting of the joint-resolution, he (PYJ) was picked as spokesman of the group and Nimely as the secretary-general.

It can be recalled that the country's civil war began in 1989, when Charles Taylor returned to Liberia from neighboring Ivory Coast. He brought with him a force of 100 rebels - the National Patriotic Front of Liberia - seeking to oust the repressive regime of the then-president, Samuel Doe.

A rival warlord, Prince Yormie Johnson, seized, tortured and executed Doe in front of video cameras in September 1990. But the demise of Doe's corrupt, abusive regime failed to bring about stable democratic government. Johnson and Mr. Taylor turned on each other, plunging Liberia into seven years of civil war.

The West African peacekeeping force, ECOMOG, eventually stepped in. Mr. Johnson accepted asylum in Nigeria, and Mr Taylor finally found himself in a position to hold elections in July 1997, despite his failure to secure the entire country.

Over the last 14 years of on-again, off-again fighting, around 200,000 Liberians have died. Another 1.5 million have been forced to flee their homes.

A West African peacekeeping force - expected eventually to total between 3,000 and 5,000 troops - is the vanguard. Nigeria deployed an advance force of about 200 troops on August 4 to secure Monrovia's airport and set up a base of operations.

The UN Security Council approved a multinational force on August 1, with plans for UN peacekeepers to take over in few months.

That rebel forces backed by neighboring countries fought to oust Liberia's warlord-turned-president, Charles Taylor.

Two main rebel groups succeeded in pinning Mr. Taylor's government into a final stronghold: the capital, Monrovia. At least 1,000 civilians have died in the past two months of intense fighting.

His contributions to rebels in Sierra Leone fuelled a bitter civil war in that country. His main ally, the Revolutionary United Front, has been accused of widespread torture and sexual assault. In June, a UN-backed court indicted Mr Taylor for crimes against humanity during the civil war in Sierra Leone.

Guinea and Ivory Coast have similar complaints. All three countries have repaid the favor by supporting rebels inside Liberia.

Two rebel groups from different tribal backgrounds now control most of Liberia.

The Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) grew out of Mr. Taylor's old foes from the 1990-1996 civil wars. Sheltered by Guinea and Sierra Leone, LURD launched its attack on Monrovia after taking the northern third of the country.

The Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL), supported by Ivory Coast, emerged earlier this year and took the southern third of the country. TNR

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