Monrovia – Retired Lt. General Henry S. Dubar Sr., the former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia, and one of the last pillars of the Samuel Kanyon Doe-era has died.
He was 79.
General Dubar, who had been ailing for quite some time after suffering a stroke in 2017, died early Friday, according to family members.
Lieut. Gen Dubar is widely credited for helping recruit the late Samuel Doe into the Liberian army prior to the 1980 coup d’etat. When Doe led a band of low-ranked army officers to topple the administration of William R. Tolbert on April 12, 1980, Dubar was promoted in one leap from captain to lieutenant general as Chief of Staff of the army.
“What a great loss to the people of Liberia and the AFL, he was the longest serving Chief of Staff for almost 10 years. A kind soul, we as men and women in arms, will always remember his service to Liberia,” General Prince C. Johnson, the current Chief of Staff of the Army told FrontPageAfrica Friday.
During an appearance before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2008, General Dubar revealed that at the height of the civil war, when rebels were knocking on the footsteps of Doe, he advised the late President Doe to resign his post as President of Liberia.
Lieut. Gen Dubar said he told the President to resign because the army was not fighting to his expectations and that the type of war been fought was a guerrilla war and not the conventional war the army was then trained to fight.
According to him, the President did not take the advice in good faith and instead considered him an enemy. He said based on that, he had to flee the country for his life. Meanwhile, the Inquirer quotes the retired AFL General as saying that the 13 former government officials of the Tolbert regime were executed before his appointment to the top AFL post. Gen. Dubar said he was not part of the execution of the 13 former officials by the People’s Redemption Council.
Lieut. Gen Dubar also debunked reports that he was part of the execution of the thirteen members of Tolbert government, declaring to the TRC that at the time of his appointment as Chief of Staff, the thirteen men were already tried and convicted by the Military Tribunal and subsequently placed behind bars.”
“What a great loss to the people of Liberia and the AFL, he was the longest serving Chief of Staff for almost 10 years. A kind soul, we as men and women in arms, will always remember his service to Liberia.”General Prince C. Johnson, III, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia (current)
General fled Liberia to next-door Sierra Leone shortly after Doe’s death, telling the local press, “a general should know when to retreat. . . . I saw our people without light, and drinking unsafe water. At that point I decided to ground arms.”
Lieut. Gen. Dubar was also a strong advocate of foreign intervention in Liberia as rebels made their way onto Monrovia in 1990. As the word spread that 2,000 U.S. Marines had arrived off Liberia’s shore, Dubar remarked, ”We are happy about them coming. Their coming is long overdue. Just the presence of the Marines here will scare the rebels.”
Lieut. Gen Dubar also featured prominently during the failed 1985 coup that led to the demise of Major General Thomas Quiwonkpa in November 1985.
Lt. Gen. Henry Dubar, who was commander of the army at the time, said that he had seen Quiwonkpa during the early morning of the failed coup at the Barclay Training Center, the main military base, in Monrovia.
Lieut. Gen Dubar was one of several officials who was detained at the base with several government ministers and released hours later when the struggle turned in Doe’s favor and Quiwonkpa seemed to have lost contact with his forces.
Lieut.Gen. Dubar said Quiwonkpa and his forces, which he said included mercenaries recruited from Cuba and neighboring Sierra Leone, had entered Liberia from the Ivory Coast. Some of the Cubans were arrested and a Czechoslovak-made weapon and secret documents about the plot were seized, Dubar said at a news conference although there was no independent confirmation that mercenaries were involved.
Lieut. Gen returned to Monrovia in 2004 and was among several former military officials honored by former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in 2007 for their service to Liberia.
The program took place during the the 160th Independence Anniversary of Liberia.
Prior to retiring from public service, General Dubar was military advisor to the Ministry of National Defense and also chaired the committee to establish bureau of veteran affairs.