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Liberia news

“Unforgivable” Massacre

Unforgivable-Ellen term 1980 coup

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has described the 1980 coup which witnessed the mass killing of some 150 government officials, including late President William R. Tolbert Jr. as “unforgivable”.

Speaking while touring several burial sites here on National Decoration Day Wednesday March 9. Mrs, Sirleaf said she was thankful to God that the families and relatives of the victims of such mass slaughter have accepted the tragedy and put their strength in God who has given them courage.

Mrs. Sirleaf said she had visited the mass grave down-town Center Street to join family members to reach out to all those who were not present to express sympathy to them “for what is today unforgivable.” “But we thank God that they have been able as family members to accept … , they have put their strength in God who has given them courage,” President Sirleaf said, expressing the hope that the country was just trying again to be a united nation for development.

Before laying wreath on the mass grave containing the remains of the late President Tolbert and some of his officials down-town Center Street in Monrovia, President Sirleaf had also visited the burial site containing the remains of Ebola victims and other abandoned bodies- the National Grave Site in Margibi County.

President Sirleaf also visited and laid wreaths on the monument of five Catholic Nuns killed in 1992, as well as the late Archbishop Michael K. Francis’ grave at the Sacred Cathedral of Hope up Broad Street in Monrovia.

President Sirleaf finally laid wreath on the grave of late President William V.S. Tubman on Ashmum Street in memory of his great work here and the unity he exemplified during his rule. The President, who was taken on a guided tour of grave sites by Independent Human Rights Commissioner Justice Glady Johnson, urged families of those victimized by Ebola to take courage and be calmed.

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She expressed sorrow as she laid wreath at a structure containing barrels of cremated Ebola corpse ashes that are kept in store at the Disco Hill National Cemetery in Margibi County. Former Associate Justice Gladys Johnson earlier described Decoration Day as sad for all Liberians -whether or not their people died of Ebola or other sicknesses, saying “whatever sickness killed them, we are all very sad.”

The National Cemetery Site Manager at Disco Hill, Mr. Kortoson M. Pellewuwan, disclosed that closed to 3,000 burials have happened at the site since it was secured by the government. “This place, we are getting more normal deaths than Ebola,” he said, though he clarified that everybody was buried as Ebola patient, estimating that “about 20 percent of the burials done” there were Ebola patients.

By Winston W. Parley-Edited by George Barpeen and Othello B. Garblah

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