PYJ: Taylor’s Men Killed My Ma!
Senator Prince Johnson of Nimba County is a man with many colors, and some say the commander of the former rebel Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia is unpredictable.
Last week Senator Johnson described his estranged mentor war crimes convict Charles Taylor as a kindhearted personality, whose generosity he noted, has affected many lives both in Liberia and elsewhere.
Johnson’s comments followed Special Court judges guilty verdict pronounced against Taylor on April 26 for aiding and abetting joint RUF/AFRC rebels in Sierra Leone.
On the other hand, he has accused Taylor of killing his (Johnson’s) mother in 1990 during the onset of the Liberian civil war.
Johnson was one of the most senior battlefront commanders of Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia rebels who invaded Liberia on December 25, 1990 in a military campaign against the late President Samuel Kanyon Doe.
But disagreement emerged and Johnson parted with Taylor and led his own splinter Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia rebels that adapted the strategy of rapid advancement to Monrovia without holding any territory except the suburb town of Caldwell overlooking the capital where he used as a base until Taylor forces overran the area, forcing him into exile to Nigeria.
Johnson said Taylor’s forces killed his mother after he broke away, but other accounts have revealed that rival frontline generals in the main NPFL predominantly from Johnson’s home County Nimba, took advantage of the breakaway and went after his family members in the village.
Speaking to this paper via mobile, Johnson said,”though Taylor through his men killed my mother, but I have forgiven him for what he did to me.”
During his trial at The Hague, Taylor described Johnson as a professional soldier and disciplinarian who sometimes “went a little overboard.”
“Prince Johnson captured Doe alive and subsequently killed him,” Taylor told judges at the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
Johnson confirmed before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that he indeed captured President Doe from the ECOMOG base at the former industrial site Free Zone and killed him, but failed to disclose where the corpse of the former President was buried.
“Myself, I have forgiven Taylor for what he did to me when I broke away from the NPFL; his men killed my mother, even though I am not holding him liable to that extent, but I forgave him already,” he said.