Monday, February 4, 2008

"Prince Johnson Hits At TRC; Warns of Another War If …”

. . . Says Doe Wasn’t 1st President Killed
A former warlord and now Senator for Nimba County, Prince Yedou Johnson says he will resist any attempt to invite him to the public hearing of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission.

“I will resist with my physical body and my soul if I am invited to the TRC without any complaint by the family of the late Samuel Doe,” Senator Johnson told a news Conference late evening in Monrovia.

Johnson, a guerrilla fighter and a Commando trained in Libya, Johnson was reported to have earlier trained at the West Point Military Base in the United States where he ran from Liberia along with ‘Strongman” Lt/Gen. Thomas Quiwonkpa who and Doe fell out over the control of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL). Quiwonkpa was one of the ringleaders of the 17 enlisted men that toppled the True Whig Party regime.

General Johnson is also reported to have participated in the Nimba Raid and was very active in the Liberian civil war as a frontline commander, a field marshal and later leader of a breakaway faction from the mainstream NPFL, the INPFL, which responsible for the capture and killing of the embattled President, Samuel K. Doe.

Photo: Senator Prince Y. Johnson: Why They Not Start With Those That Killed President Tolbert?
Addressing journalists at his Capitol Building office last evening, the Nimba County lawmaker pointed out that he did not offend anyone during the war, and that the family of President Samuel Doe killed by his Independent national Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) had reconciled with him in the church, saying that there was no need to call to the TRC in onnection with Doe’s killing.

‘Doe not the only President killed’

“Doe killed Tolbert and my faction killed Doe. If the TRC wants to hear the killing of Presidents, why shouldn’t they first start with those who killed President Tolbert and executed the 13 officials to testify before the TRC; the 13 men were civilians that should not have been tried by a military tribunal,” Senator Johnson, a retired Brigadier General of the Armed Forces of Liberia told the journalists.

Senator Johnson, who said he did not like how his name was being carried in the Liberian media since the inception of the TRC’s public hearing, furthered: “President Tolbert was a sitting Head of State when he was murdered in cold blood by Doe and his People’s Redemption Council. Some of those who killed President Tolbert are still alive, as well as those who killed the 13 government officials of the True Whig party-led administration.”

Responding to a reporter’s question, Johnson continued: “If the TRC is interested in the killers of sitting Liberian Presidents, Doe and his group should first appear before the TRC.” He said any attempt for the Commission to invite him to the public hearing forum would constitute what he called “witch-hunting”.

Johnson as commander of the INPFL was said to have been responsible for the killing of Cols. Larry Borteh, Swen Dixon, Roosevelt Sarvice, Youth & Sport Minister Fred Blay, a popular musical artist Tecumseh Roberts whom he accused as homosexual, his Special Forces Commando Moses Varney of his INPFL, according to sources who resided on the Bushrod Island which was controlled by Johnson’s faction.

“I will not appear unless…” - Johnson

"Prince Johnson, during the war, became the Rueben Hood of Liberia, victimizing the affluent for the properties and dashing it to the poor. His silver pistol was his power with which he disciplined his fighters," an eyewitness said on a local radio this morning. The caller on the radio wondered what if Johnson was called to the forum by families of some of these victims.

But Senator Johnson said he would appear only if called upon on account of complaint by Doe’s family. “I will appear before the body to explained circumstances in connection with the death of President Samuel Doe, unless the Doe Family indicts me,” General Johnson said. Johnson who presently chairs the Senate Committee on national Security and Defense criticized the TRC for “not doing its work effectively”.

Accusing the Public Relation Director of the TRC, Richmond Anderson, of castigating him during a TRC press conference, Senator Johnson noted that he wouldn’t appear before the TRC if it were a a court of law, because it has already convicted him even before trial.

“I am a sitting Senator. My people, the Nimba people, will resist any attempt by the TRC to forcibly have me appeared before it to explain circumstances in connection with Doe’s death.” According to him, explaining what the INPFL did to Doe would ignite another war between the peoples of Nimba and Grand Gedeh.

Prominent People Supported Killing of Doe

Johnson also named some prominent people that he said were involved in the capture and killing of Doe. He named former Interim President Dr. Amos Sawyer, the ailing Catholic Bishop Michael K. Francis, and some powerful western powers. “The death of Doe was planned amongst some powerful western countries and our politicians," he indicated. To prove this, he recounted, Doe was still a sitting President when Amos Sawyer, Bishop Roland Diggs and several others with support of those western countries formed the Interim Government of National, the IGNU (1990-1994) aimed at directly overthrowing Doe’s Government, Senator Johnson recalled.

He then pointed to Samuel Doe, Thomas Quiwonkpa, Thomas Wehsehn J. Nicholas Podier and others who, according to him, murdered President William V. S. Tubman as some others who have also killed sitting President.
In recent times, the Liberian media has been running stories that retired General Prince Johnson,the leader of the defunct INPFL, has said he will not appear before the TRC’s public hearing forum if he were called upon to do so. But the TRC as an institution issued a reaction to the reported assertion by Senator Johnson that he will not appear before the TRC, saying that he will be made to appear if he were to be called to face the public hearing.

But during his press conference last evening, Johnson said, “I never told any body that I will not appear before the TRC."

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