Security Fails to Find Ex-Minister
By Our Monrovia Correspondent
April 14, 2001
A team of state security men sent to search for the missing Deputy Information Minister Milton Teahjay has reported their inability to locate him. Police Boss Paul Mulbah dispatched a team of Special Operation Division (SOD) officers and plainclothes security to Nimba County over the weekend. Upon its return, the team reported that it could not find traces of Mr. Teahjay. The team returned only with security personnel assigned at the border points in Nimba County.
Many Liberians are confused by the reason why the secret police officers were dispatched to Nimba when the Government claims that Teahjay went "underground" in Monrovia and that his family knew his whereabouts, but was using the whole Teahjay's affair as "pranks" to damage the image of the government.
There are many accounts filtering in Monrovia, however, about the fate of the outspoken opposition politician, which have sent shock waves through ordinary Liberians, with many presently wondering where the country is heading. Security sources alleged that the controversial government spokesman was executed in Gbatala, around the central town of Gbarnga after he was picked up by plainclothes secret policemen.
An associate of a member of the presidential elite force - Anti Terrorist Unit (ATU), who spoke to this correspondent on the basis of anonymity, alleged that the former Media Consultant was butchered at their base in Gbatala, Bong County. The confidante alleged that it was intended to leave no trace of the murdered politician. He said traces left during the Dokies incident greatly embarrass government. All these accounts could not be independently verified.
Police spokesman Singbeh Johnson has however accused Mr. Teahjay of attempting to embarrass government. President Charles Taylor last Sunday met Mr. Teahjay's wife and promised do everything to trace the man he once said defended him more than he would ever defend himself. A pro-government newspaper the Monrovia Guardian and an auxiliary organization of the NPP have accused the US Embassy in Monrovia of harboring Mr. Teahjay. The Embassy, in a release yesterday, condemned the report, saying, "It is not worth commenting on". Asked why would the embassy be suspect, the Director of its Public Affairs, Ms Sarah Morrison, said if Mr. Teahjay came to the Embassy, it was because it is solace of free speech.
Mr. Teahjay was relieved of his post as Media Consultant to President Taylor after he criticized the operations of logging companies operating in his hometown - Sinoe County. President Taylor subsequently accused Mr. Teahjay of inciting citizens against the NPP-led government, while Vice President Blah described the act of Mr. Teahjay as "seditious". Following his dismissal, police acting under the command of GSA seized Mr. Teahjay's private vehicle and paid unusual visits at night, which frightened the opposition politician. It can be recalled that Mr. Teahjay disappeared last Friday, after he was denied exit by border securities. Later, it was reported that Mr. Teahjay was arrested by state security in Nimba County while attempting to leave the country. President Taylor announced that one of those bent in destabilizing the government has been arrested." The Police also confirmed, adding, "All I can say is that Mr. Teahjay is undergoing preliminary investigation."