The battlefront commander of the Liberian Government soldiers and Director
of the Special Security Service (SSS), Lt/Gen. Benjamin Yeatan has reportedly
fled Liberia this week. Reports say he made his escape last Sunday evening,
under the cover of darkness, to an unknown destination.
The Deputy Chief of Staff and Battlefront Commander of government forces,
who directed the troops up to the recent fighting in Monrovia, escaped the
country through the Roberts International Airport accompanied by three former
aides to ex-president Charles Taylor.
One source claimed that the general might have escaped for fear of being arrested
and prosecuted for allegedly killing two officials of government. He has been
accused of masterminding the deaths of Deputy National Security Minister John
Yormie and Deputy Public Works Minister Isaac Vaye, something that happened
in early June, 2003.
Gen. Yeaten’s reported escape from the country has come in the wake
of mounting pressure of a probe from some concerned citizens and the wives
of the two slain government officials. The widows just last week demanded
the bodies of their husbands and also requested the Justice Ministry to arrest
and prosecute Gen. Yeaten for the death of their husbands.
On June 4, 2003, following the arrival ceremonies of the former president
of Liberia from the Republic of Ghana and the subsequent arrest of the then
vice president Moses Z. Blah for an alleged failed coup attempt, at about
1:45a.m., a light blue jeep marked 1249-BC, driven by a man only identified
as "Banana", went to John W. Yormie’s yard, along with another
man yet to be identified.
The men told Mr. Yormie that they were sent by the director of SSS, Benjamin
Yeatan, upon the orders of the then president of Liberia, Charles Taylor,
to come and get him over.
According to a well-placed source, Lt/Gen. Yeatan escaped the country accompanied
by one Sam Gbantou(Commercial Attache of Liberian Embassy in Israel) and Miaway
Borlea, the Director of Maintenance at the General Service Agency(GSA). Borlea
was used by the former president Taylor to smuggle arms into the country.
Besides the deaths of the two government officials, Gen Yeatan was accused
of being responsible for the gruesome murder of staunch Nimba County opposition
politician, Samuel Dokie and his family.
On November 28, 1997, former Deputy Speaker of the transitional parliament,
Samuel Saye Dokie, his wife Janet, his sister Serena and nephew Emmanuel Voker
were arrested while en route to Sanniquellie, Nimba County, to attend a wedding.
They were arrested at a security checkpoint in Gbarnga reportedly upon the
orders of Gen. Yeaten.
Following their arrest, Mr. Dokie was taken to Monrovia for investigation
and subsequently taken back to Gbarnga. Later their whereabouts were not known.
This raised serious concern , thereby leading to a massive search. Three days
later, the burnt bodies of the Dokies were found on the outskirts of the city.
In an official statement issued on the murder of the Dokies, the government
said it never ordered the arrest of Mr. Dokie.
However, the Director of the SSS, Mr. Yeaten, admitted ordering Mr. Dokie’s
arrest, but not his murder. Yeaten was temporarily released of his post to
assist in the investigation. Two security personnel, Richard Saydee and Kennedy
Fineboy, who had been named as prime suspects, were acquitted by the court
for lack of evidence.
His departure is sparkling concern, as many are afraid that there could be
an outburst of fighting among the apparently disgruntled GOL fighters who
would be feeling abandoned
Some sources near his Congo Town residence, said Yeaten’s loyalist soldiers
left on the grounds were seen tussling to carry away his remaining belongings.
One of the notorious killers protecting his home, "Angola Ray" apparently
frustrated over his boss’ unannounced departure refused to entertain
any discussion on the matter.
Our reporter who visited the residence of Gen. Yeaten gathered that he fled
the country leaving several of his fighters unpaid.
The information even prompted some of the fighters to attempt taking away
one of his vehicles ( a Jeep) to pay themselves, but the police was called
to thwart the subsequent selling of the jeep.
Our reporter also saw at least, 20 fighters who were assigned to the General
grumbling for their pay threatening to take away anything from the residence
The situation area around Gen. Yeaten’s residence was very tense during
our reporter’s visit, and as such, several ECOMIL soldiers were seen
there maybe to put the situation under complete control.
Meanwhile, the unceremonious departure of Gen. Yeaten from the country is
creating serious concern. Many are concerned that the issue surrounding the
death of the two officials has not been resolved.
However, a late evening report monitored on D.C radio just before we went
to press, quoted Defense Ministry authorities as saying Gen. Yeaten has traveled
to Ghana to attend to some family matters.
© 2003: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.