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

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa 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.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid