Liberia's Mosquito Treatment: Much Ado About Nothing

By M. Tarnue Mawolo

The Perspective
Jan 15, 2001

Under increasing pressure from the international community and having boxed itself into an uncomfortable corner, the Taylor regime late last week unleashed yet another media hype. Gen. Sam "Mosquito" Bockarie, the self-styled RUF rebel guru and messenger of anarchy, was at long last said to be leaving Liberia. In a dramatic twist, the Government of Liberia announced the sudden expulsion of the notorious and much despised Sierra Leonean former RUF Commander along with an undisclosed number of his entourage. This move while interesting is nonetheless hollow.

In announcing this measure, Taylor, his handlers and partners in crime were suggesting to the world at large that Taylor was now prepared to see the back of Gen. Mosquito, who has evidently become a leading symbol of notoriety and plunder in Sierra Leone. By so doing, they also seek to demonstrate that Liberia is now finished with its mischief-making exercise involving the country's active support for the brutal limb-cutting RUF rebels. Certainly, West Africa would be a better place and the world would know a little more peace if this were just half way true. But available facts speak to the contrary. There can be no doubt that aside from the symbolism of it all, the expulsion of Sam Bockarie is simply much ado about nothing.

Ever since his ignoble flight from his rebel base in Sierra Leone following a murderous spree and subsequent execution of fellow rebel commanders, Sam Bockarie has lived in Liberia under Taylor's patronage and full protection. He enjoys elaborate pageantry, luxury and impunity only befitting a king or a crime czar. In decrepit Monrovia, he sports expensive SUVs, carries a coterie of bodyguards, and performs security duties in some of Taylor's countless and sprawling security apparatus. All of this while the nation bleeds.

Since arriving in Liberia, it was clear from the start that Bockarie and his fellow fugitives were nothing but a set of criminal paraphernalia waiting to be used. This, however, did not matter to the Taylor regime; utilizing their criminal expertise was paramount. There is abundant information that a large number of the Mosquito gang received further training at the notorious Gbatala Base, and have since been assigned to duties with Taylor's Presidential security detail; while a larger number have been deployed in combat in both Lofa county and Guinea.

The fallacy is that the international community asked Liberia to take in Sam Bockarie and his collaborators; and that Taylor simply obliged. This is a lie! The truth is, even among criminals there is a threshold. And that even by RUF standard Bockarie had become a total out of control menace. Indiscipline and murderous, Bockarie went on a killing spree, murdering both villagers and RUF commanders alike. A pursuit was launched for him, and Bockarie fled for his life. He secretly resurfaced in Monrovia and took sanctuary on the front porch of his real master, Charles Taylor. There he remained until Taylor found a legitimate cover for his stay, convincing gullible West African leaders that it was in the sub-region's supreme interest for Bockarie to remain in Liberia. Of course, he was already there. What better place could he have gone? Bottom line, Gen. Mosquito has always been a nuisance as his name suggests. The only people that needed and have enjoyed the strange and nauseating company of Mosquito are Charles Taylor and his criminal enterprise.

Be that as it may, the alleged expulsion of the fugitive Mosquito is being hugely touted as the Liberian Government's response to the international community's demand for Taylor's cooperation in solving the Sierra Leonean madness. In all honesty, the whole fiasco about the expulsion of Mosquito simply skirts the real issue and seeks to divert global attention from the mainstay of Taylor's guilt. At issue here is the Taylor government's creation of and continuing support for the brutal rebel outfit that goes by the weird misnomer of the Revolutionary United Front. Evidence abound to prove that in a classic quid pro quo game of criminal diamond exploitation, Taylor is the creator, facilitator, benefactor and prime beneficiary of the monstrosity called the RUF. Taylor founded the RUF in Liberia. They invaded Sierra Leone through Kailahun in the east. The umbilical cord of Sankoh's ruthless outfit terminates in Liberia. Evidently, Taylor's Liberia is the launching pad for the evil that has decimated Sierra Leone, and now threatens to engulf the entire sub-region. Mercenaries are recruited, trained, financed, armed and dispatched from command posts inside Liberia. Without the active nurturing provided by the Taylor government and its criminal extremities, the RUF will be a dead entity; and clearly one more child will be fortunate to breathe an air of life in either Sierra Leone, Liberia or Guinea. This is the real problem; and the presence in Monrovia of a lone anarchist named Sam Bockarie and his followers is simply a reflection of the bigger problem that manifests itself in the form of a Taylor presidency in Liberia. Surely, the true path to peace lies in the dismantling of the criminal Liberian cabal.

But one gratifying thing happened. In their sneak public relations gambit, the Taylor government made an inadvertent or forced confession. They announced the beginning of a new policy of disengagement with the RUF, and vow to no longer support the latter. This is a true-life confession. Having been in denial about what the rest of the world always knew, the word is finally out. Indeed, truth crushed to the ground shall always rise.

Truly though, the people of Liberia will be the happiest to see Bockarie leave, if he ever does. At least the country will be one more problem short. But the truth is as we write Sam Bockarie is still in Monrovia, perambulating in freedom and majesty. He's demanding escort to the border as if some one brought him to Liberia in the first place. Bockarie sneaked into Liberia on a private arrangement with his benefactor. His departure route should be all too clear to him if he so desires.