The warlord who repents


repentance

 

 

Joshua Milton Blahyi, or mostly known among his victims, and his soldiers during Second Liberian Civil War, as ‘General Butt Naked’, used to be one of Liberia’s most notorious warlords; it was estimated that he had all killed, mutilated, cannibalized, and exploited more than 20,000 civilians throughout the belligerent era. And he was given that nickname, as he would always unleash his brutality fully naked, wearing only sneakers and bringing a machete to kill his targets.

And now he becomes a born-again Christian, and one of the country’s most active priests as well, either to avoid his complete responsibility in war crimes tribunal, or out of reason of ‘pure penitence’.

Read the full report on Der Spiegel Online.

 

Excerpt:

 

Blahyi answered each question conscientiously, even when he was asked about the taste of human flesh. The record of the hearing, in which he is confronted with his earlier statements, is kept on file in Liberia’s national archive.

“‘I recruited children who were nine or 10 years old.’ Is this correct?”

“Yes.”

“‘I planted violence into them. I explained to them that killing people was a game.’ Is this correct?”

“Correct.”

“‘When I shot and wounded an enemy, I would rip open his back and eat his live heart.’ Is this correct?”

“Let me be more precise…I also laid down the body and had my child soldiers cut the person to pieces, so that they wouldn’t have any feelings for people.”

“Are you the same Joshua Milton Blahyi they now call Blahyi the Evangelist?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Why did you decide, in light of this … past, to come to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission?”

“For my faith. I was told that I should tell the truth, and the truth will set me free.”

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