News / Africa

Former Liberian Warlord Denies Ivorian President's Appeal for Help

Thomas Yah-Yah Nimely says he and his former MODEL fighters have no reason to get involved in Cote d'Ivoire's post-election impasse

Incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, center, gestures during a photo opportunity with his newly-named cabinet, with Prime Minister N'Gbo Gilbert Marie Ake, front left, at the presidency in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Dec 7, 2010
Incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, center, gestures during a photo opportunity with his newly-named cabinet, with Prime Minister N'Gbo Gilbert Marie Ake, front left, at the presidency in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Dec 7, 2010

Multimedia

Audio
  • Former MODEL reble leader Thomas Nimely spoke with Butty

James Butty

A former Liberian warlord said he and his former rebels have not been contacted by embattled Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo to support him in that country’s post-election dispute.

Earlier this week, Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf warned former Liberian warlords to stay out of the Ivory Coast crisis following reports that some of them had been contacted “unofficially” to intervene.

But Thomas Yah-Yah Nimely, who led the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL) rebel group during Liberia’s civil war, told VOA he and his former fighters have no reason to get involved in Cote d’Ivoire’s post-election impasse.

“Since I came from the village and I returned to Monrovia, it has been three weeks now, I have not contacted anybody, with the exception of people who I know in Tai (an Ivorian border town). And, they are very afraid, and they called me to get my opinion if they should continue to reside in Cote d’Ivoire or cross the border to come to Liberia,” he said.

Nimely said he has a friend who he said happens to have worked for the Gbagbo election campaign in the Ivorian town of Guiglo.

“Taye happens to be working with the president (Gbagbo) because he said he was his campaign manager in the Guiglo area and, at the time I called him, I asked him to find out what the result of the election was, and he said that the election commission had not sent out the results. And that was the last communication (I had) with him,” Nimely said.

Nimely said he sees no benefit to get involved in the Ivory Coast dispute.

‘When I participated in the Liberia (civil war) there was a benefit, and it is the benefit that all of us are enjoying today. But, what will be my benefit when I get involved in Cote d’Ivoire?” he said.

He said he was surprised by President Sirleaf’s warning to former Liberian warlords to stay out of the Ivory Coast crisis.

“This is why this puzzles me because we have been disarmed since 2003-2004 and, at that time, we carried on a process that created the democratic Republic of Liberia today. Since 2003, up to now, it’s been eight years, and I am not sure whether Thomas Yah-Yah Nimiely is supposed to be responsible now for any of the individuals that participated in the organization called MODEL,” Nimely said.

Nimely said he believes President Sirleaf made the statement asking former Liberian warlords to stay out of the Ivory Coast crisis as her way of seeking solutions to the plight of former fighters in Liberia’s civil war.

“In my own view, the president might be asking for consultation. How do we go about discouraging these young people from crossing to go and fight in Cote d’Ivoire? And, if that is the question, then all of us will participate in finding out what to do next,” Nimely said.

He said the situation in Ivory Coast is critical for Liberia and the West African sub-region, particularly with five of Liberia’s regions bordering Ivory Coast.

“If the president is looking for solutions, I think there should be consultative meetings from Nimba all the way to Maryland. Let’s sit with the traditional people who are the mothers and fathers of these young people that have (a) common border with Cote d’Ivoire and see how we can come up with a solution. But don’t call on Thomas Yah-Yah Nimely because I don’t have control over these people anymore,” he said.

Nimely accused President Sirleaf of failing to reorganize the Liberian army to include the former young fighters as stipulated in the agreement that ended the country’s civil war.

“When ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), AU (African Union) and other international community members, including ourselves, signed the peace process to say these young men and women should be placed in the army, if you placed them in the army you have control over them.”

“But, the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led government did not touch any of these people. As a matter of fact, it went to the extent where it demobilized all the AFL (Armed Forces of Liberia) soldiers and never recruited one person from there. So, all of these young men and women are hanging out in the street. They are unemployed, they are despondent. So, what do you expect to happen?” Nimely said.

Nimely said the Sirleaf government has accused him of training fighters on his farm in Liberia’s southeast Grand Gedeh County.

“There’s evidence all over the place. U.N. soldiers have come on that farm. NSA (National Security Agency) workers have gone there. Immigration has gone there. They have said that I had 200 Burkinabe on that farm and they sent immigration people there to go and bring the first 50 Burkinabes from that farm. When they went there, they did not even meet one person there,” he said.

Nimely said he personally met with President Sirleaf and Vice President Joseph Boakai and brought up the allegations that he was training foreign fighters on his farm,

He said President Sirleaf told him that she was not concerned about him training foreign fighters. Instead, he said the president told him she was concerned about the hiring of foreigners on his farm at a time when Liberia’s unemployment rate is high.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid