Liberia: Former Rebel Leader “Butt-Naked” Urges Former Warlords to Embrace War Crimes Court

The ex-warlord turned evangelist said that for too long, the culture of impunity has been embraced by Liberians, especially ex-warlords.

MONROVIA – Former notorious rebel general turned Evangelist, Joshua Milton Blayhi, says greater consequences await ex-war perpetrators if they continue to shun the establishment of war crimes court in Liberia.

Evangelist Blahy who was notoriously known as General “Butt Naked” was a fierce and fearless warlord during the civil unrest in Liberia which claimed the lives of an estimated 250,000 Liberians.

He attributed the growing wave of violence in Liberia to the high level of impunity, noting that, war perpetrators should wholeheartedly accept the formation of the court to pay the price for the heinous crimes they committed during the warring days in Liberia.

He made these assertions recently when he spoke to a cross-section of Liberians in Monrovia.

Evangelist Blahyi added that the sons and daughters of former warlords who committed heinous crimes and atrocities during the country’s 14-year civil conflict will be targeted by victims or their relatives in the future if they failed to embrace the establishment of the court.

Evangelist Blahyi maintained that violence would subside to a larger extend if perpetrators are made to bear the full weight or consequences of their actions.

He observed that for too long, the culture of impunity has been embraced by Liberians, especially ex-warlords.

“If I reject the International Criminal Court or justice today, it is a recipe for my children to be brutalized one day and the people who brutalize them would insist for impunity because Joshua Blayhi brutalized other families and was given pardon. If I will be remembered in the future that I accepted and took full responsibility for my actions, if any man should hurt my children in the future, they will take full responsibility”.

 “I see the establishment of the war crime court as a support against violence. I am here to give me and my organization support for justice in this country. Many people may think that I am confused or crazy. But if this step is a step of confusion, then I will embrace it. I have a parable that I always project-If a man went out to steal and angry crowd is running behind him; if he had his wife and children home; running to his house is not the best place because the angry crowd will kill he and his children. The best thing is to give yourself so that the anger of the people you have hurt will not reach your children”.

No freedom without justice

Speaking further, the ex-warlord underscored the need for justice to prevail if lawlessness is to be curtailed in Liberia.

According to him, true and lasting freedom can only be actualized in Liberia if people are made to pay for their unlawful actions perpetrated against peaceful citizens.

“Over the years, I have watched violence grew in this nation. I am suspecting that violence will continue to grow because of the culture of impunity that we have embraced. And so, I want to admonished every Liberia that the only way we can enjoy true freedom is to embrace justice,”

“God in his power redeemed his children from Egypt. He fed and led them through the Red Sea with his miraculous powers. But they could go no further until the ten (10) commandments were constituted. I want to tell Liberia; if we don’t respect the Lord, we can go no further.

“If I reject the International Criminal Court or justice today, it is a recipe for my children to be brutalized one day and the people who brutalize them would insist for impunity because Joshua Blayhi brutalized other families and was given pardon. If I will be remembered in the future that I accepted and took full responsibility for my actions, if any man should hurt my children in the future, they will take full responsibility.”

Former notorious rebel general turned Evangelist, Joshua Milton Blayhi

TRC

The establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in Liberia was enacted in May 2005.

The Commission worked throughout the first mandate of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf after her election as President of Liberia in November 2005.

The Liberian TRC came to a conclusion in 2010, filing a final report and recommending relevant actions by national authorities to ensure responsibility and reparations.

The Liberian TRC has garnered much criticism for its inability to address Charles Taylor and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

At the time of the TRC formation, the Special Court for Sierra Leone indicted Charles Taylor, the leader of the rebel group the National Patriotic Front of Liberia that many of the crimes against humanity are attributed.

This indictment prevented the Liberian TRC from hearing any testimony from Taylor. Sirleaf, on the other hand, was placed on a list of persons that should be barred from public office, a ruling which was later overturned by the Liberian Supreme Court.

Dressed in white suit, ex-General “Butt Naked” took responsibility for about 20,000 citizens who lost their lives during the Liberian civil conflict at a TRC hearing held on January 15, 2008.

 “If I were to calculate; if you’re talking about April 6th or throughout the war or every evil I have done-it should not be less than 20, 000. I want to say sorry to this nation. I want to thank the TRC for giving me the opportunity to openly come and say I am sorry” he responded to an inquiry from one of the commissioners.

He told citizens in Monrovia recently that his open confession at the TRC hearing was for biblical reasons.

“I didn’t go to the TRC 2008 because I understood they were going to recommend amnesty for me. I went there because I know that no sin goes unpunished. I went there also because I know that no one prospers when their sins were covered. I went there because I know it is only the truth that sets you free. From my faith as I Christain, I think truth is the only way forward”.

About “Butt Naked”

Joshua Milton Blahyi alias General Butt Naked, is a former commander of forces under the wider control of Liberian warlord Roosevelt Johnson.

He was known for his violence and atrocities during the First Liberian Civil War in the early 1990s. Once described as “the most evil man in the world”, Blahyi claimed to have also carried out regular human sacrifice and cannibalism of children.

He led his troops naked except for shoes and a gun and believed that his nakedness was a source of protection from bullets.

During the First Liberian Civil War he led a mercenary unit, many of whom were child soldiers, which was known as the Butt Naked Brigade.

They were funded by Roosevelt Johnson and fought alongside the ULIMO militia against militias led by Charles Taylor and Prince Yormie Johnson.

ULIMO was loyal to Samuel Doe, who was captured and executed—personally—by Prince Johnson. Taylor eventually took control of the country.

Blahyi’s rampage ended in 1996, when the civil war in Liberia was coming to an end.

He stated that his conversion was bolstered by a church in Liberia where Bishop Kun Kun is a pastor.

He is now the President of the End Time Train Evangelistic Ministries Inc., with headquarters in Liberia.

The former notorious rebel general is also fighting the war against drugs in Liberia through his Journey Against Violence (JAV) project under his ministry.

The specific mission of JAV is to help decrease drug trafficking and abuse among the youths and provide them with drug treatment, housing and job training, among others.

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