Thursday, October 1, 2009

What Kills General Charles Julu?

…Mournful Grand Gedeans Blames Government

Gen. Julue(right) shakes hands with President Sirleaf after his release

As the cold hands of death snatched away Lieutenant-General Charles “the ROCK” Julu sinking the dreaded general beneath, Grand Gedeans have begun blaming the death of Julu on treatments meted to him when he was detained by security forces of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led Government on suspicion of coup plot. Julu, whose name was often associated with nearly every political evil especially plots to overthrow, died in a local Ivorian hospital following a “protracted illness.” However, with the controversy introduced by this latest blame trading on the part of Grand Gedeans, Journalist Bill K. Jarkloh pieced together family and tribal reaction as reported and brevity of the historicity `of Lieutenant-General Julu’s military involvement with conflicts in Liberia.

Grand Gedeans called him “bior” - a southeastern word meaning “warrior.”Some said he is a legend, while others yet referred to him as a demagogue or a devil manifest in Liberian history. No matter what the “ROCK” was, his life was marred by military adventurism that was punctuated with reports of coup plots and unsuccessful attempts led by him to overthrow, attempts for which General Julu was always a wanted man and was jailed and freed as situations of law and reconciliation occasioned.

The General Julu died recently in the Ivorian Capital of Abidjan. Family sources revealed that the “Rock” crossed to the Great Beyond on September 25, 2009 at 7:00 Ivorian time at a local hospital in Abidjan.
According reports, mourning family members in the United States who are currently meeting at the home of Mrs. Annie Payonnoh Dennis, sister of the deceased, in Worcester, Massachusetts have confirmed that Julu suffered Pneumonia for several years before he came down with hypertension or high blood pressure.

But multiple sources closed to the Julu family claimed the former General contracted illness while in incarceration at the National Security Agency (NSA) and at the Monrovia Central Prison at Center Street, South Beach, although Julu, it was said, nearly got paralyzed when he reportedly suffered a mild stroke in 2005.

The former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia who died of protracted illness was 67 and survived by more than 20 children.

A statement reportedly issued by the GDAA, the Gbarzon District Association in the Americas, says the “The death of this fine General is a gust to the Arm Forces of Liberia and the entire nation as a whole,” while family sources blamed Julu’s death on the Unity Party regime of the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Government.

However, the illness of the ROCK was reportedly exacerbated for what family sources somehow blamed on his prolonged detention by the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf regime on allegations of attempting to overthrow the Unity Party government.

Although Janet, Julu’s widow is yet to be contacted, some family members disclosed in the media that Julu nearly got paralyzed when he reportedly suffered a mild stroke in 2005.

Our sources said when the retired general fell sick, he was treated by doctors in Monrovia before he was transferred to neighboring Ivory Coast, where he received further treatment.

Information gathered in Monrovia indicated that General Julu was taken to a European country unnamed, where he was said to have briefly received medical treatment, which was of no betterment to his recovery.

Doctors reportedly told a relative who was said to have accompanied him on the health trip to Europe that the hospital could do nothing about Julu’s worsening condition.

The “ROCK” was then returned to the Ivory Coast where traditional herbs were the only option left, but it was disclosed that Julu could not further survive the appalling health condition. He then died from his illness bringing to complete futility efforts by herbalists to safe the ailing retired general.

As efforts are however being made to independently confirm the reports, the Executive Committee of GDAA issued a statement in the United States extending condolences to the widow and children of former General Julu. “Our prayers and thoughts go out to the bereaved families during this redoubtable time that is unbearable,” the GDAA statement indicated.

The statement quoted Mr. Alphonso Zean-Soe, National President of the GDAA as saying, “We urged or Gbarzonians and friends of the district to call Mrs. Annie Panyonnoh Dennis for a word of encouragement and support.”

According to reports, family members in the United States are currently meeting at the home of Mrs. Annie Payonnoh Dennis, sister of the deceased, in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Our sources said when the retired general got sick he was treated by doctors in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, before he was transferred to neighboring Ivory Coast, where he received further treatment.

General Charles Julu, known in and out of Liberia, is however negatively portrayed to many Liberians as an associated with coup d’etats, plots, assassinations, willful killings, some of which allegations remained unproven up to the demised of the general.

They young military Sergeant at the time was reportedly disrobed in 1972 by the William R. Tolbert regime on allegation of coup plot intended to overthrow the government of President Tolbert government. Although sources said Julu was detained for short while, disrobed from the Armed Forces of Liberia.

He then settled in Nimba County and joined the Plant Protection Force (PPF), a private security of the LAMCO concessionaire in Yekepa. Julu rose through the ranks and became its commander.

In 1983, Julu’s name surfaced again when some rebellious officers of the Armed Forces of Liberia, led by the late Brigadier General Thomas G. Quiwonkpa staged what is today called “Nimba Raid”.

During the raid, supporters of Quiwonkpa reportedly attacked Julu’s home and chopped off the fingers of his daughter, himself barely surviving the onslaught on his family.

Following the attack on his home, Julu reportedly committed atrocities allegedly killing tens, perhaps hundreds of Nimbaians accused of conspiring with his attackers. A female witness recently testified that Julu was responsible for the death of several PPF officers who were accused of attacking his home and victimizing his family. Julu had refuted the allegations.

After the Nimba raid, the slain Liberian President Samuel Kanyon Doe appointed Julu Commander of the Executive Mansion Guard Battalion with the rank of Brigadier General. He served that position until the outbreak of the NPFL bush war in 1990.

When army generals, Smith and Craig failed to contain the NPFL forces, Doe again assigned Julu to oversee the general frontlines in Nimba and Grand Bassa County, the position he held until he was appointed Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia in the latter part of 1990.

But Julu absconded the country and did not return until in 1994 when he mysteriously appeared at the Executive and staged unsuccessful coup that defied reasoning in an attempt to dethroned Transitional Head of State David Kpomakpor.

Julu and his supporters led by the late MODEL commander Arthur Baygbo faced a barrage of bombings and hails of fire from the West African Peace Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) and ejected from the Executive Mansion.

In an attempt to escape, A group of civilians who arrested the former general stripped naked at Mamba Point and turned him over to ECOMOG, which took him into custody at their based on the Bushrod Island.

Julu and 12 of his kinsmen were charged with sedition and tried on the Fendell Campus of the University of Liberia by a military tribunal headed by General Kpenkpa Y. Kona. The AFL Court Martial Board found Julu and others guilty and detained them at the notorious Post Stockade military prison at the Barclay Training Center (BTC).

But the convicts were released by forces of the defunct ULIMO-J during the April 6, 1996 street battle in Monrovia. He then fled to Guinea where he reportedly participated in the forming of the LURD rebel group that helped to run Taylor out of Liberia.

Just before the general and presidential elections that brought President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to power, Julu was reportedly involved with pseudo church activities. However, President Sirleaf's son, Fomba Sirleaf who is Director of the National Security Agency (NSA), ordered the arrest and detention Julu and fellow Krahn man Andrew Dorbor on allegation of attempting to overthrow the Unity Party led government. The two were taken to court and were acquitted.

No comments: