A group of prominent Liberians under the banner 'Childhood Friends of Jefferson T. Koijee' has sharply denied allegations linking Koijee to the Liberian civil war.
Mr. Koijee who currently serves as the Mayor of Monrovia is an influential member of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change, heading the party's youth league.
There have been strings of allegations levied against him by some individuals and right groups including the International Justice Group (IJG) that he actively participated in the civil war which claimed the lives of about 250,000 people, displaced millions and sent thousands more into exile.
But the group of friends, in defense of Koijee, issued a statement claiming that during their interactions with him at different times of their upbringing in the youth and student communities, they have not known him or received any information and evidence linking him to any warring faction or violent activity during the Liberian civil war.
"We believe that the allegations of war crimes against him are diabolical and unfounded," the group debunked.
Further in the statement, the group noted that considering the gravity of the allegations against Koijee, they are constrained to collectively clarify that to the best of their recollections, he was not a participant in the Liberian civil war.
The group further: "We have known him to be an active citizen dedicated to civic causes. He was at the forefront of numerous campaigns that mobilized students across Monrovia in the early 2000s to demand quality education, affordable tuition fees, an end to violence and conscription of children into fighting forces."
It continued: "We stand in defense of his record as a youth and student activist during the war years and denounce the false campaign linking him to war crimes. We call on those spreading war crime allegations against Mr. Koijee to refrain from doing so as it only serves to tarnish his reputation."
Members of the group in defense of Major Koijee who affixed their signatures to the statement include Joseph Sankaituah, former president of the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY); Sheikh K. Dukuly, II (Ph.D), Researcher; Nafesa Kanneh (MPH), Public Health Practitioner and Chief Executive Officer, Nasofehtravels; Ibrahim Al-bakri Nyei (PhD), former Chief Clerk and Sergeant-at-arms of the Mano River Union Youth Parliament; Jerry Tarbolo, former Secretary General of FLY and Urias S. Goll (Attorney-at-law), former Parliamentarian at the Mano River Union Youth Parliament.
Other childhood friends of the Mayor who are fronting for his innocence include Kula B.N. Fofana, Assistant Dean, David Straz College, University of Liberia and former Co-Chair, Vision 2030 Steering Committee; Augustine S. M. Tamba, former president of FLY; Cianna Precious Smith, former Member of the National High School Student Union of Liberia; Brezhnev David Paasewe, former First Vice President of FLY; Alfred P. K. Cassell, former member, Board of Advisors of FLY and Pindarous W.T. Allison, former Secretary General of the Federation of Liberian Youth.