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Notorious Liberian Warlord Confesses to Killing Thousands


One of Liberia's most notorious rebel commanders has returned home to confess his crimes, saying his fighters killed 20,000 people during the country's civil war.

Joshua Milton Blahyi, also known as General Butt Naked, acknowledges the atrocities in an interview with the Associated Press published Sunday.

Blahyi returned from exile in Ghana to testify before Liberia's Truth and Reconcilation Commission last week.

Liberia's Truth and Reconcilation Commission began hearing testimony on the civil war in 2006 with the goal of establishing a full account of wartime atrocities.

The former warlord earned his nickname, General Butt Naked, for charging into battle naked along with his fighters, a technique meant to terrify the enemy. Blahyi says that before fighting, he would perform a human sacrifice to the devil by killing an innocent child.

An estimated 250,000 people were killed during 14 years of conflict and unrest in Liberia that ended in 2003.

The commission can recommend that individuals be charged with war crimes but cannot bring charges itself.

In the interview, Blahyi acknowledges that he could face execution for his actions, but says he came before the commission because he seeks forgiveness and reconciliation.

Blahyi says he turned his back on war in 1996 when he says God appeared to him during a battle and told him he was a slave to Satan and should repent. He later became an evangelical Christian preacher.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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