News / Africa

Former Liberian Rebel Leader Admits Guinea Support in Civil War

People walk past buildings damaged or unfinished as a result of Liberia's decade-and-a-half long civil war. In the post-war era, health officials are stepping up the fight against leprosy.People walk past buildings damaged or unfinished as a result of Liberia's decade-and-a-half long civil war. In the post-war era, health officials are stepping up the fight against leprosy.
x
People walk past buildings damaged or unfinished as a result of Liberia's decade-and-a-half long civil war. In the post-war era, health officials are stepping up the fight against leprosy.
People walk past buildings damaged or unfinished as a result of Liberia's decade-and-a-half long civil war. In the post-war era, health officials are stepping up the fight against leprosy.
James Butty
The former leader of one of the rebel groups in Liberia’s 14-year civil war has said his movement received support from the government of neighboring Guinea.

Sekou Damate Conneh’s Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) was accused of committing massacres as it fought with Charles Taylor’s former National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) rebels for control the capital, Monrovia.

Conneh said Guinea supported him because Conakry and the sub-regional group Mano River Union believed cross-border attacks by Taylor’s NPFL rebels made the region unstable.  

Conneh’s comments came as Liberia observed a decade of peace since the 2003 signing of the Comprehensive Peace Accord that ended the country’s civil war.

“Since after the war, it’s about a decade, and we are talking about lasting peace and we just want to tell the world that we want no more into war, and we are happy that we are having peace in our country for a decade and there is no gun firing, and we promise that there is more gun going to be fired in Liberia,” he said.

Conneh said the Guinean government supported him because Conakry and the sub-regional group Mano River Union believed cross-border attacks by Taylor’s NPFL rebels made the region unstable.

“The Mano River countries were not safe with Charles Taylor.  Freetown was not safe, Guinea was not safe.  He carried out cross-border attacks, and this is why we were supported.  We even drove the Charles Taylor rebels from Guinea, and that is where we got our support from,” Conneh said.

He said his LURD rebel group should be seen as liberators and not people who should be taken to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, as some Liberians have been advocating.

“I personally did not commit any atrocities.  I came to liberate the Liberian people, and the whole world saw that.  It was not for power, it was not for jobs, and our people are free at last.  There were no atrocities committed that warrant my people to go to court,” Conneh said.

In its 2009 report, Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), formed to look into the causes of the civil conflict, recommended that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and 51 others be blocked from holding public office for 30 years for helping to form and finance warring factions. 
Butty interview with Conneh
Butty interview with Connehi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
     
The commission also recommended that nearly 100 individuals considered to be notorious perpetrators of gross human rights violations and war crimes be prosecuted in a court of competent jurisdiction.

Conneh, who also testified before the commission, said the TRC recommendations will not hold because Liberians consider him and members of his LURD rebel group as liberators.

“No way that I should go to court because I am a liberator.  I came to free my people, and my people are rejoicing at that,” Conneh said.

Conneh said he has started a private business, of which is the CEO, and he’s living happily in Liberia.

You May Like

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid