Debunking the Mystery of 'LURD'

By Theodore Hodge

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

April 11, 2003

Liberians have suffered enormously under the rogue regime of Mr. Taylor. Liberians have left the comfort of their homes to become displaced people all over the world and a group calling itself "Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy" (LURD), seized the opportunity to appoint and anoint themselves as the new saviors of the Liberian people.

Following Mr. Taylor's recipe for success, the group decided to wage a war against his regime just as he had waged a war against Mr. Doe's. It doesn't take the brain of a rocket scientist to figure out that killing an enormous number of unprotected civilians to score political points is an abhorrent idea. But, the Liberian people were played as pawns by some seemingly unscrupulous individuals reaching for personal aggrandizement.

For quite a while now many Liberians have stood on the sidelines observing the carnage heaped on the society, all being done in the name of promise for a better day. This new group, LURD, has failed to even elucidate its plan and aspirations except to denounce the Taylor regime and vow to topple it at any cost.

The Taylor regime, knowing that a page had been stolen from their playbook, has been stubbornly reluctant to concede. After all, they know the game and have the resources to play it better than this new group called LURD. Yet, many Liberians have privately been counting on LURD to do the Liberian people a favor by getting rid of Taylor. Although not many Liberians could tell you what LURD is about, they're convinced about the hopelessness of the Taylor group. My enemy's enemy is my friend, they seem to be saying.

Well, recently some light has been shone on the mystery of this clandestine group calling itself LURD. And as I have suspected all along, it has become convincingly clear that these chaps are up to no good. The first thing that I became suspicious about was the name of the group: Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy. I asked myself, do these people really believe in unity? Is their true goal reconciliation? And do they have any intention of instituting democracy? You see, it is one thing to go around shouting revolutionary slogans, that does not necessarily make you a revolutionary. And just because you form an organization with a nice acronym does not make you authentic.

After keeping the Liberian people and the world at large in mystery about the true intent of these so-called revolutionaries, this little petty and criminal organization is fast falling apart like a house of cards.

Its so-called senior military advisor, General Joe Wylie, punched a gaping hole in this hitherto mysterious gang when during a recent interview with COPLA; he implied that there is no unity within the hierarchy of the group. He denounced the group's leader, Mr. Sekou Conneh, as being xenophobic, incompetent, disruptive and dictatorial. He went on to urge the National Executive Council (NEC) to consider removing Mr. Conneh from the chairmanship of the group. Clearly these folks aren't united at all.

The General went further by accusing the Chairman of illegally imprisoning another General (Jolloh) for whose immediate release he was calling. He also threatened to have charges of manslaughter and murder brought against the Chairman should the General die while in detention. But worst of all, General Wylie admitted to The Perspective that LURD soldiers had committed unspeakable acts against some nurses working for a human rights organization; the nurses confessed to being raped by their captors. Shockingly, he charged that these crimes took place under the nose of Chairman Conneh.

Upon reading General Wylie's statement, LURD's secretariat shot back, calling Wylie "destructive, disruptive, and irresponsible". They also accused him of having a track record of "being egocentric, deceptive and a betrayer of just struggles". Specifically, they said his deceptive escapades included: "Betrayal of Samuel Doe, NPFL, ULIMO-J, Liberian Peace Council and the Coalition Forces". They also accused him of "fraudulently converting funds belonging to the organization into his personal use."

The bottom line is the entire group has exposed its own incompetence and aimlessness. The fact that this group has declared a war against the Taylor regime but has only succeeded in terrorizing ordinary, defenseless Liberians who have no connection to the government, underscores the futility of their efforts.

Now the serpent has split into two heads, leaving one to terrorize citizens in the western, central and northern parts of the country while the new head has severed itself from the main body to begin a new wave of violent campaigns in the southeast part of the country - killing villagers as the go along.

The new group also claims to be fighting to save the people of Liberia from the savage grips of Charles Taylor. Just like their parent organization, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy, all this new group has going for it is a nice sounding name and acronym. They call themselves: Movement of Democracy in Liberia (MODEL).

Just like LURD has demonstrated, they are not united, have no clue what reconciliation is and wouldn't recognize democracy if it bit them in the face. It is ironic that these ragamuffins chose to use this name and acronym for their devilish group. The name and acronym MODEL is already being used by a respectable group that is actually living up to the meaning of the name; they are in the business of educating their fellow citizens to prepare for elections and other related democratic issues.

The message to LURD and MODEL is simple: Stop terrorizing defenseless citizens in the countryside and stop raping nurses and other defenseless women. Charles Taylor lives in Monrovia - take the fight to him.