The Death List Obsession

By Tom Kamara

The Perspective
Jan 10, 2001

The recent assassination list of individuals allegedly issued by the Liberian regime would pass as comic book in view of the horrors that have plagued the country. But that is only if the source of the List, Charles Taylor, can be dismissed for undertaking such crusades in death in enhancing his personal interests. To the contrary, his record indicates abundance of evidence of obsession with assassinations as the "Solution" for his personal and political problems.

But before the List's publication, Taylor threatened that exiled Liberians, blamed for the threatened UN sanctions, would be followed, "even in (their) mother's womb. If you think you can hide, we will show that you cannot hide." So the List is not an empty threat. Another threatening note, addressed to this writer, warned him to reflect on the death sentence passed the Iranian British born writer Salmon Rusdie. The letter, which has been passed on to security agencies for further analysis, has been traced to DATA TECHnology Solutions, Inc (Liberia Net), an Internet entity run by Mrs. May Urey, wife of Benoni Urey - one of President Taylor's confidantes - who is the head of Liberia's Maritime Agency.

"This is the ranting of a failed man, an utterly disgraced individual in an endless crusade of discovering scapegoats. He made stupid promises he is unable to keep. No water, no lights, no food, only disgrace for the Liberian nation. If he only knew that the Liberian people will follow him in his mother's womb no matter how long he sleeps there. His arrogance and lunatic threats should be dismissed and activities stepped up to dump this thief", said an angry Liberian named on the list.

"We should not relent in our struggle against this criminal imposition. We should organize and find the courage and decisiveness to confront and defeat this political madness which has made our country the laughing-stock of the African continent. We must accept the challenge and for each blow from these criminal hoodlums, we must reply with a hundred blows. In the face of tyranny, resistance is the only honorable response of the true patriot! We must be fearless in the face of this cowardly scheme!", another Liberian named on the list consoled some of his listmates.

In 1990, Taylor arrived at naïve conclusion that Liberia would be flooded with plenty only if Samuel Doe was killed. : "If I catch him, I will kill him", he told the BBC boastfully. In 1996, he warned Samuel Dokie, an Opposition politician, that even if he (Dokie) went back "into his mother womb, I will get him". Two years later, Dokie, his wife, and two family members were executed, their mutilated and burnt corpses were beyond recognition. For years, he loathed his Vice President, Enoch Dogloa, for having sent a letter to Libya's Col. Gadaffi along with others telling the Libyan ruler that he, Taylor, was disaster for Liberia. Last year, Dogolea died under mysterious circumstances. Taylor's promised autopsy, a promise coming after a mass outcry against the manner in which the man died, has never been released. There is a 24-hr security posted at the man's public grave to ensure no one attempts exhuming the body for a secret autopsy.

Although it is difficult establishing the authenticity of the new list, such publications out of Liberia, now out of limits for the independent press, have extremely been accurate in the past. For example, a few days before the July 1997 elections, an underground paper was circulated in Monrovia announcing that the process was a farce because the late Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha had decided to crown Taylor President.

But the new "List of 46 Must Die" ( itself is an improvement on another List of "100 Must Die" issued in 1998. Many of the persons on the 100 List, such as Milton Teahjay, Thomas Brima, etc., have since joined Taylor's bandwagon. But others on the 1998 "100 Must Die List" were not so fortunate. On this List was Shad Kaydea, a close ally of Samuel Doe who thought he would have crossed over to Taylor in business as usual. He died suddenly under mysterious circumstances. Many others on the 100 List, such as Gbai Gbala and a dozen of Krahn leaders now imprisoned for 20 years after a Kangaroo treason trial, were on the 100 wanted dead list. Dozens others, including politicians, journalists and human rights activists, such as Kofi Woods, Oscar Quiah, etc., have escaped to avoid being "erased", to borrow the infamous word used by Taylor's inner circle for secret executions.

The new List itself has caused concern in some countries where Liberians, fearing death if they return home, now live. Such publications would have been ignored, but coming from a man who has killed 250,000 in a country with population of less than three million, almost equaling the same number of American soldiers killed in World War Two, the List must be taken seriously.

The sad aspect of this all is the continued belief within Taylor's gang that death provides answers to biting socioeconomic problems. Although dozens of key African-Liberian politicians, journalists, opinion leaders, etc., were sought out and executed between 1989 and 1996 to remove opposition, the taste for death as a solution, as most serial killers well know, is insatiable.

Taylor and his disciples may have believed that by butchering Jackson F. Doe, Samuel K. Doe (no relations), Gabriel Kpolleh, Dr. Stephen Yekeson, Patrick Biddle (no space for the dozens of people killed in the belief that their death would kill opposition to the emergence of the "Old Order" clothed in New Blood), the good old days would flourish again.

To the contrary, darkness has descended. The "good old days" have not reemerged, at least not for many, and they may never under the prevailing conditions in which death and theft are seen as convenient and honorable means in sustaining crude power. The President expresses sympathy for the sorrows of his people although he lives opulence while they stave.

The economy is now almost irredeemable as justifiable sanctions for the mass theft of Sierra Leone's diamonds and the accompanying butchering loom. Hospitals are closing down, but this does not matter because the President can always fly to Paris for medical checkups or send his fighters to Abidjan for treatment. Schools are in shambles, but this is okay because the President has many of his nine children out of the country, many in American and European schools. Roads are non-existent, but this, too, is fine because the President has Ukrainians piloting his helicopters bought with Sierra Leone diamonds, transporting his storm troopers and weapons around the region. Salaries are unpaid, but this is also understandable since huge amounts are needed to import arms to "protect" the people.

And yet, Taylor believes the root causes of his problems are the people on the "46 Must Die List". What he cannot understand is that the world would care less if his criminal tentacles were only preserved for his "You killed my ma, you killed my pa [but] I will vote for you people." Even if he were executing 10 persons publicly per day to satisfy his yearning for blood, the world would honor him. Didn't the German electronic company Siemens give a "Peace Prize?" Didn't key American Liberals, including Jesse Jackson, Donald Payne, Herman Cohen, make themselves available to him in service even after establishing a record of leading one of the most vicious, criminal armies in recent times?

But what the civilized world finds repugnant---and one must jump for joy for there being a Tony Blair and Robin Cook in Britain---is that he is amputating tens of thousands of children in Sierra Leone so that his children can afford to ride $68,000 cars. What the world of conscience cannot accept, no matter how hard men like Salim Ahmed Salim cry along with him in singing African or Arab brotherhood, is that he has exported his terror machine to other countries. These reasons, and not the "46 Must Die people" on the List, are the causes of his problems.

The fact of the matter is that Africa is down on its knees and there can be no greater example than having men like Taylor, Foday Sankoh,(Jesse Jackson's Mandela) etc., as national leaders. Yet, Africans bent on selling the deception that the problems of misrule and now mass theft in politics are caused by outsiders. Responding to the queries of the overtly pro-Taylor-Sankoh New African magazine, Richard Dowden, a journalist with The Economist whose sin was depicting the realities of Africa's misrule:

"I am not an Afro-pessimist but journalists in particular, have a duty to reflect reality. Africa is a bad way. The sensitive issue is why? Usually, Africa's problems are blamed either on external forces or its own internal; domestic dynamic[s]. Most people agree that Africa is failing because of bad leadership, but is that imposed on Africa or does it emerge from within Africa? Can it be pure coincidence that Africa has had a crop of bad leaders? I suggest that both internal and external and historical forces are at work here. Africa's leaders are caught in a trap between the continent's own internal social and political dynamic, its colonial past and the pressures of the outside world at presentI am trying to find a rational explanation for the Abachas, Sankohs and Savimbis [he forgot to add the Taylors, creators of the Sankohs]. Why do they pursue polices so destructive of what we used to call 'nation building' in Africa?"

But the annoying hypocrisy as circulated in magazines like the New African shamelessly under the banner of African pride, an understandable crusade because of its Arab connections, is to gloss over the destructive policies pursued by Africans like Taylor while hanging the white man ad infinitum. The interrelationships among so-called African leaders, geared towards their personal economic benefits, have caused tens of thousands deaths and ushered in collapsed economies and societies. Notes the UN Panel of Experts in its Report on diamonds and war in Sierra Leone:

"The personal connections between President Charles Taylor and Foday Sankoh go back ten years to their training in Libya, to their combined efforts on behalf of Blaise Campaore in his seizure of power in Burkina Faso, and to Sankoh's involvement in Charles Taylor's struggle as head of the NPFL to take power in Liberia in the early 1990s. These events are well documented, and President Taylor told the Panel that he was a close friend of Foday Sankoh. President Taylor denies unequivocally, however, that he or his government have provided any training to the RUF, any weapons or related matériel, any Liberian facilities or territory for staging attacks, or a safe haven"

Yet, editors at the New African prefer to delude their readers that the real reasons why the humane global community wants justice for Sierra Leone's children is because Taylor and Compaore are friends of Libya's Gadaffi and are therefore "anti-imperialists", whatever that means in today's political parlance. It does not matter to such minds if these men have caused entire towns, villages, communities to be burnt down in Guinea, Sierra Leone, with tens of thousands roaming through forests and dependent on the same people condemned (the white people) for security and handouts.

In the end, no matter how many imaginary enemies men like Taylor execute, they remain a disgrace to what used to be African nationalism. Along with South African Neo-Nazis, Ukrainian mercenaries, they are determined to recreate primitive Africa. With their diamond hirelings roaming Europe, America, etc. they may succeed in assassinating their perceived enemies. But such will just be the beginning of their misery.