The notorious training base of former President Charles Taylor’s elite Anti Terrorist Unit (ATU) situated in the provincial town of Gbartala, Bong County has become a center for crushing rocks.
The base, previously used for the training of Taylor’s “Demon Forces” another elite group, was a no-go terrain for civilians. The “Demon Forces” that later transformed to the ATU, was commanded by Chucky Taylor, Charles Taylor’s son and an American, who has been sentenced for 90 years in America for war crimes committed in Liberia No vehicle was permitted to stop along the vicinity, as doing so was a serious security risk.
Violators were apprehended and severely flogged, and on some occasions, reportedly kept on the base for time indefinite. But such nightmares are no more. Inhabitants of Gbartala are using the premises for business purposes and rock crushing in order to survive.
They have constructed thatched kitchens under which foods are cooked for sale to those crushing rocks. The base was also previously used by Pototora Construction Company to excavate rocks for the pavement of the Kakata-Ganta Highway, leaving behind an old crusher plant following completion of the project.
A resident of the town, Mr. James Martin, says the former base now serves as an economic point for jobless people residing in that part of the county, noting that the rock crushing has become a source of income generation for unemployed citizens, helping to reduce crimes in the area.
By Emmanuel Mondaye-Editing by Jonathan Browne