Mrs. Cynthia Yormie, the widow of murdered former Deputy National Security Minister John Yormie has been trying hard to suppress her grieve, but finally, she can’t hold on any longer.
Holding a copy of the New Dawn newspaper in her hand, she fought back her tears, as she recounted how her late husband was picked up that fateful night of June 5, 2003 from their home by security personnel, who said jailed ex-president Charles Taylor had sent for him-that was the last time she ever saw her husband.
It has been fifteen years, since the gruesome murder of her husband and his close friend, former Deputy Public Works Minister Isaac Vaye, Mrs. Yormie says she and her family continue to face persistent security harassment.
Holding a copy of a letter she recently wrote to Justice Minister Musa Dean on July 13, 2018, a copy of which is in the possession of this paper, Mrs. Yormie complained of repeated “illegal search, looting and illegal removal of assorted drinks and cash by some unknown personnel of the DEA” who broke into her house without a search warrant.
“What have we done to them,” the 61-year old widow queried, as she reflected on her loss and all the difficult periods she has gone through with her children.
She says, she fear for her dear life and as it is right now she just want to get out of this country if granted asylum “because anytime overnight they can kill me and my children.”
Mrs. Yormie, comments come amidst repeated calls for a war crimes court here to prosecute those who perpetrated heinous crimes here during the country’s more than two decades conflict.
She told the New Dawn newspaper, Tuesday August 21, 2018, a day after the paper published a story about a lawsuit she filed some 10 years ago before the Criminal Court ‘A ’against former Special Security Services Director Benjamin Yeatan, a former Taylor henchman for the murder of her husband and others, it appears that the Liberian government has shown no interest in pursuing the case to deliver justice for her family and others.
During former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf’s regime, the Liberian government in 2008 indicted former president Taylor’s Special Security Service (SSS) Director Benjamin Yeatan for the murders of former Internal Affairs Minister Samuel Dokie and his family in 1997; and Mr. Yormie and Mr. Vaye, also a former Deputy Public Works Minister for Technical Services in 2003.
But this case is yet to be tried, and Mrs. Yormie explains that people in government have over the past time told her not to speak on the issue.
Mrs. Yormie requested an interview with this paper following a story it published Tuesday, 21 August raising questions over what action the George Manneh Weah government would take in such case, especially at a time citizens are debating a suggestion to establish a War Crimes Court to try war criminals.
Narrating in tears at her Soul Clinic residence in Paynesville, Mrs. Yormie recalls that on 5 June 2003, people were running around over claims that former President Taylor had been caught in Ghana.
But when Taylor returned to Liberia that day, she says he was welcomed at the airport by Mr. Yormie and other officials, following which Mr. Yormie went home at his Soul Clinic residence.
While home, Mrs. Yormie says her husband went to his friend Isaac Vaye’s house to get additional pepper for the soup she had prepared for him.
During that time, she says security told her that somebody was outside wanting to see her husband Yormie.
So upon Mr. Yormie’s return to his house along with Mr. Vaye to drink the pepper soup, Mrs. Yormie recalls that Mr. Taylor’s security agents under the directive of General Benjamin Yeatan collected her husband at about 12 a.m., claiming that the president wanted to see him.
Mrs. Yormie says she took the license plate of the car they drove her husband in, saying Mr. Yormie was concerned as to why the president wanted to see him at that time of the night.
But she indicates that her husband left his pistol with her and went anyway because she thought it was work related issue.
The next day she says she and Mr. Vaye’s wife Mrs. Suzana Vaye went to Gen. Yeatan’s house in search of their husbands, but Yeatan told them to go home, assuring that their husbands would come.
According to Mrs. Yormie, people from Nimba were at Mr. Yormie’s house with palm thatches, awaiting Yormie’s arrival, but they never saw him.
While pressing her clothes to go out, the widow explains that she saw Mr. Taylor’s late Vice President Moses Blah, Harrison Karnwea, Martha Zaye and the late Prince Myers with an ambulance in the yard.
“And they brought ambulance in the yard, so I said but what’s going on? Just to tell us … they were finished killing our husbands,” she explains as she broke down in tears.
She narrates that the officials said they wanted to avoid abruptly delivering the death news of her husband for fear that the family would have been shocked and fallen off, so the strategy was to carry along with them the ambulance to get them prepared for the bad news.
“But you know, at least God gave us the strength to hear and to see everything,” she explains.
Following her husband’s murder, Mrs. Yormie says ex-president Taylor offered her S$25,000.00 as compensation to enable her drop the case. But she says she rejected it and demanded her husband’s corpse to give him a decent family burial.
But Mr. Yormie’s widow says the government refused to give her the body, she does not know up to now where her husband was buried.
“My good, good husband, they killed him and buried him like dog. Ah God, have mercy upon them, have mercy upon them. I know one day, I will see the end before I die,” she says.
She says she was with Mr. Yormie and he fought for his life, but he did not fight to kill people. She recalls that he was one of those that helped to get the sub-regional peacekeeping group ECOMOG to come here.
Prior to being ex-president Taylor’s Minister of National Security, Mrs. Yormie says her husband Yormie “was not closed to Taylor,” saying Mr. Yormie was instead with Prince Yormie Johnson who headed a rebel group Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL), controlling Caldwell in Montserrado County.
She explains that Mr. Yormie was not a military man, but he simply fought for his life because the war was fought on tribal line, “the Krahn people were hunting him so he had to join Prince Johnson to … save his live.”
From 1990 to 1991, Mrs. Yormie says her husband was working as police director, but when Mr. Taylor took over, he told Mr. Yormie to sit down.
While her husband was working on his farm, she notes that Mr. Taylor called him to come and work in his government as Deputy Minister for Operations at the Ministry of National Security.
It was this job that Mr. Yormie held up to the day he was allegedly murdered on the order of Mr. Yeatan in 2003.
Mrs. Yormie says she wants justice for the killing of her husband because no amount of money can solve the problem.
She also pleads with Mr. Weah’s government to come to the aid of the Yormie family, alerting that police and DEA personnel are running behind her “because of the same petty jealousy” they had against her husband.
She also pleads with the government to help her children get jobs because they are sitting and doing nothing after acquiring college education.
She says she and Mr. Yormie had five children who were just in their infancy when Mr. Yormie was murdered. Two of those children have died, but she has struggled with the remaining three over the years to get them through high school and colleges.
By Winston W. Parley and Ben Wesee-Edited by Othello B. Garblah