Liberia: Family Wants Justice against Sen. Prince Johnson for Slain Relative


Monrovia – It was on September 9, 1990 when the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) Focus on Africa reported that rebel fighters of ‘General’ Prince Y. Johnson’s Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) had captured former President Samuel Kanyon Doe at the Free Port of Monrovia.

Report by Henry Karmo, [email protected]

It was a like a genocide as most of the men, who had accompanied the former President, 28 years ago, were all murdered General Johnson’s rebels.

The scars from that day are still on the surviving relatives of victims.

One of many victims was Mr. Joseph Kanneh, who worked as former Assistant Minister of State for Logistics during the Presidency of Samuel K. Doe. Kanneh may be dead and gone but his memories still live on.

On Tuesday, September 11, a petition calling for justice was submitted to the Legislature by people, who said they are families of victims of the genocide.

“I am Joseph S. Kanneh, Jnr., a Liberian humanitarian and activist, one of nine children of my late dad, who served the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs of the Republic of Liberia. He was brutally murdered in cold blood by Senator Prince Johnson during the genocide he perpetrated at the Free Port of Monrovia on September 9, 1990.”

Kanneh Jnr., in his petition, said he is surviving the terror of such casualty with so many tragic memories. “Sadly, I have come on behalf of the Kanneh Family to petition this Honorable body, in accordance with Article one of the Liberian Constitution, which gives power to the people. It is as well one of the fundamental pillars of the ‘pro-poor’ agenda; please intervene and render us justice by querying Senator Johnson to kindly disclose where he buried the remains of our late father.”

As one of the many victims allegedly as a result of what General Johnson or his fighting men and women did, the victim said he and his siblings have tried to live with the nightmare, the humiliation and the injustice but can longer tolerate the trauma; adding: “Especially when I wake up most mornings and seeing many orphans wandering the streets all because of one man’s personal aggrandizement, inhumanity, cruelty and greed.”

Even though Kanneh and others have managed to live with the memories of their dad for the last 28 years, they now believe it is time that they petition the legislature for the protection, justice and liberty against anyone who may have committed mayhem against them and other Liberians.

Kanneh’s anxiety to demand justice through their petition was as a result of a question raised by one of his sisters concerning “a grave” they as Kanneh Family can memorialize.

“This question sparked grief and sorrow in my mind. The scene was filled with sympathy as most of those who gathered were young people who lost their entire livelihood.

“There was huge wave of cry as many of us wanted to actually place our flowers over the grave of our loved one,” he narrated.

Kanneh was joined by others who feel the time is right to seek justice for every Liberian, who was victims of these war lords and the powerful.

They promised to remain vigorous in ensuring that their loved ones, who were murdered on that day, 28 years ago, get deserved honor with befitting burials.

“I and my family sincerely pray your honorable office to grant me and my family Justice. Finally, we the Kanneh family, depend on you for a timely redress on this issue. We are completing plans on giving our father and others befitting burials.”