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

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs