News / Africa

    Liberia Seeks Clarification from US on Visa Revocations

    Liberian President Meets With President ObamaLiberian President Meets With President Obama
    x
    Liberian President Meets With President Obama
    Liberian President Meets With President Obama
    James Butty

    Liberia said it has made “proper representation” to the US embassy seeking clarification on why the visas of three senior government officials were revoked after they had left Liberia.

    The three officials including Associate Supreme Court Justice Kabineh J’aneh, Youth and Sports Minister Eugene Nagbe, and Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff.  

    All three once had some affiliation with different rebel groups during Liberia’s civil war, which lasted from 1989 to 2003.  

    The visa dispute, and the arrest and detention in May this year of Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu, Charles Taylor’s former defense minister, indicate the Obama administration may be ready to go after Liberians accused of war crimes.

    Liberia’s Information Minister, Lewis Brown, described the visa incident as serious.  He said his government wants to know what really happened.

    “So far, we have made the proper representation through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the American Embassy accredited near our capital seeking information on the revocation of visas of at least three individuals who are serving at very high levels in the government.  We are still waiting for feedback from the embassy,” he said.

    J’aneh was reportedly told his visa was canceled upon arrival in France enroute to the United States.  Nagbe learned of his visa revocation after arriving in the United States, while Doe-Sheriff was stopped in Accra, Ghana.

    Brown said Monrovia remains hopeful the visa issue is simply the result of a misunderstanding.

    “We know that at least three senior officials’ visas were revoked. It is within the purview of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to make such representation and to get the information.  Until we do, we’d like to think there may have been some misunderstanding, a processing issue perhaps,” he said.

    Woewiyu was arrested last May in Newark, New Jersey and charged with “lying on his application for U.S. citizenship by not disclosing his alleged affiliation with a violent political group in Liberia”, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

    In 2012, the US government deported George Boley, former leader of the Liberia Peace Council, and was found to have recruited and used child soldiers in military operations undertaken by the Peace Council during the country’s civil war.

    ICE said Boley’s deportation was the first removal order it had obtained under the Child Soldiers Accountability Act of 2008.

    In 2009, a court in Miami convicted former Liberian President Charles Taylor on six counts of committing acts of torture and conspiracy to commit torture.

    He was the commander of the notorious Anti-Terrorism Unit that suppressed opposition to his father’s regime. Taylor was sentenced him to 97 years.

    Brown said the Liberian government is unaware whether the visa revocations were part of an overall US commitment to root out alleged human rights violators who may be trying to seek refuge in the United States.

    “We’ve heard about all these speculations; we do not rush to any conclusion.  And so, what we want to do is to, as we’ve done, do a formal request for information about what may, or may not, have occurred.  I think people are running to conclusions and may find it totally unnecessary in the end,” Brown said.

    He said the Liberian government has made the necessary representation to the US Embassy and expects to get the results soon.  After that, Brown said, the government will inform its citizens about what really transpired.

    As President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf prepares to travel to Washington for next month’s US-Africa summit, one local report said the visa incident might have forced the president to make some adjustments in members of her delegation. FrontPage Africa, a Liberia online publication, reports she dropped Brown from the delegation.

    Butty interview with Brown
    Butty interview with Browni
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

     

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    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.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.