Monrovia, September 8, 2008: Defunct INPFL leader Prince Johnson displayed the skull of late President Samuel Kanyon Doe to a delegation of the Interim Government of National Unity (IGNU) at his Caldwell Base, Commany Wesseh, then Sports Minister of IGNU said.
Mr. Wesseh said during a meeting with the INPFL leader to discuss the intention of IGNU President Amos Sawyer to resign, Mr. Johnson told he and others that he had killed Doe who wanted to kill him (Wesseh). He said during the meeting with Johnson he was accompanied by his special assistant Brownell Swen and former judge Luvenia Ash-Thompson.
“Johnson said look Commany, the Doe man who wanted to kill you, I finished with him. You believe it. I was scared and Johnson asked, you scare,” Mr. Wesseh said.
Mr. Wesseh, now ambassador designate to the United Nations was testifying Monday at the ongoing “Contemporary History of the Conflict” Institutional and Thematic Inquiry Hearing of the TRC at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion on Ashmun Street, Monrovia.
He said Johnson ordered one of his female fighters, only identified as Musu to bring the skull of President Doe. Wesseh said when Musu returned, she brought the skull of Mr. Doe on a platter and Johnson exclaimed, “Here the Doe man here.”
“So I am curious what happened to the rest of the body. If it was embalmed for 25 years what happened,” the deputy minister for economic cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Mr. Wesseh said if the objective of the TRC is to put closure to what happened to all Liberians that died during the conflict, Liberians need to come together and say the truth.
“Unless Mr. Johnson says the truth, then what I experienced with him was not the truth, “he said.
Johnson, now senior senator of Nimba County told commissioners of the TRC recently that the body of Doe was exhumed and cremated at the order of the late General Samuel Varnii, then deputy leader of the INPFL.
The senator said that the body, which was embalmed for 25 years, was exhumed during a visit of a team of foreign journalists to his former base.
He claimed that following the exhumation of the body, Varnii contended that one body cannot have two graves so he ordered that Mr. Doe’s corpse be cremated and thrown into the river.
“When we dug out Doe’s body, the body was hard like iron rock. Doe body was embalmed for 25 years, but after we dug the body, Varnii said we should burn it because one man cannot have two graves. We cremated the body and threw the arches into the river,” Mr. Johnson said during his marathon testimony.
Under the theme: “Understanding the Conflict Through its Principal Events and Actors,” the ongoing hearings will address the root causes of the conflict, including its military and political dimensions.
The hearings are focused on events between 1979 and 2003 and the national and external actors that helped to shape those events.
The TRC was agreed upon in the August 2003 peace agreement and created by the TRC Act of 2005. The TRC was established to “promote national peace, security, unity and reconciliation,” and at the same time make it possible to hold perpetrators accountable for gross human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law that occurred in Liberia between January 1979 and October 2003.