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

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora