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GeneralLiberia news

Families to exhume Tolbert and others’ remains

The 19th Liberian president was killed in a coup in his apartment at the Executive Mansion, and his government was overthrown on accusations of alleged rampant corruption and misuse of public offices, among others.

By Naneka A. Hoffman

Monrovia, April 24, 2024: Family members are in the process of obtaining permits for the exhumation of the remains of slain Liberian President William R. Tolbert, Jr., and 13 other officials killed in the April 12, 1980 coup.

Dr. Richard V. Tolbert, son of the slain Liberian President, said Monday, 22 April 2024, that his family and families of other deceased officials are in the process of obtaining the necessary permits to exhume the remains from a mass grave at Palm Groove cemetery on Center Street.

He noted that plans are underway between the children and family members of the deceased government officials, both home and abroad, for a contraction of a new tomb at the Baptist Seminary.

The new tomb will lead to the removal and reburial of the deceased early next year, according to Dr. Tolbert.

“Today, April 22, as always, we are solemnly gathered here to honor the memories of our fathers, the thirteen mostly Elderly Senior Government officials,” he said.

He said his father and Senator Frank E. Tolbert were brutally executed in cold blood at the South Beach behind the Barclay Training Center Military Barracks.

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Speaking during the 44th-year memorial service of the deceased government officials, Dr. Tolbert recalled that on 6 February 2024, the Board of the Liberia Baptist and Theological Seminary honored the family members’ request to exhume the remains of former President Tolbert and the 13 officials to be reburied at the Baptist Seminary in Paynesville.

Dr. Richard Tolbert and the families of the 13 officials lauded the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention and the Board of the Liberia Baptist Seminary for granting the request.

According to him, the April 22 Memorial group was established for the relocation committee that met with Dr. Momolu Massaquoi, president of the Baptist Seminar.

He stated that the children and family members of the executed government officials are not gathered at the Palm Grove cemetery to mourn in bitterness but rather to remember the deceased in bounteousness, for in the immortal words of the poet Laurence Binyon: 

“They shall not grow old, as we grow old, age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we shall remember them.”

The children and family members of the executed government official called on well-meaning Liberians, Baptists around the world, and members of ECOWAS, Mano River Union states, and the African Union to help them achieve their dreams.

The 19th Liberian president was killed in a coup in his apartment at the Executive Mansion, and his government was overthrown on accusations of alleged rampant corruption and misuse of public offices, among others.

In the coup’s aftermath, Master Sergeant Samuel Kanyon Doe of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) seized power.

But roughly ten years later, in September 1990, Doe would suffer a gruesome murder by other rebel fighters who were opposed to his rule, plunging the nation into additional years of carnage.

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