Ex-rebel leader Senator Prince Yormie Johnson has justified hideous executions conducted by troops under his command during the civil war, saying those killed were people, who were rebellious on his rebels Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia or INPFL base in the Monrovia suburb of Caldwell.
Field Marshall Johnson, who came third among a total of 20 or more candidates in the first round of the 2011 elections, is currently political leader of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction or MDR party. He maintained that those killed during the wars by his troops were people, who were reportedly engaged in rebellious activities within his controlled area.
The list of victims of his so-called instant justice is endless, but among the famous names includes former Minister of Youth and Sports under the Doe regime Fred Blay and local musical artist Tecumsey Roberts.
According to him, his rebel base provided safe haven for all, but with strict instruction to his fighters to shoot on sight anyone who may appear combative, adding that those, who fell victims were disobedient to rules of the game.
Speaking in his office at the Capitol Building in Monrovia on Tuesday, March 28, Senator PYJ said his base was a place of refuge for many officials of the Doe regime, who were trapped as fighting intensified among three warring factions, including his INPFL rebels, Armed Forces of Liberia’s troops loyalty to slain President Samuel Kanyon Doe, and Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia rebels, who occupied largest territories of the country.
He argued that those who benefitted from his protection and are still alive should be grateful to him and stop branding him as war monger. “I helped so many Liberians, including officials of government that were part of former President Samuel Doe regime. I even provided security for former interim President Amos Claudius Sawyer, former leader of the Liberians United for Democracy and Reconciliation SekuoConneh, amongst others,” he said.
He explained that his forces had strict order to protect lives and properties, but anyone, who wanted to be stubborn, should be gunned down immediately. Originally a founding member of the NPFL rebels led by Charles Taylor, Johnson broke away during the early days of the insurrection back in Nimba, and led a smaller INPFL, which adapted a strategy of advancing to Monrovia against the Doe regime, but holding no territory in the interior until his men captured Caldwell Township in Montserrado County, which he eventually used as his base to confront doe forces.
Forces under his command eventually captured President Doe in September 1990 from the Free Zone base of troops of the regional monitoring group, ECOMOG that was sent to Monrovia by West African leaders to intervene in the lawlessness and carnage.
Upon his directive, Doe was mutilated, executed and his body put on display on September 9, 1990 with the scene videotaped and broadcast around the world. The video showed Johnson sipping a Budweiser beer and being fanned by a female aide as his men chopped off the President’s ears.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne