Liberian Civil War

Topics: Liberia, Samuel Doe, Sierra Leone Pages: 5 (1206 words) Published: January 28, 2011

The Liberian Civil War

Algina Porte

Strayer University Online

Math 105

Prof. Clifton Collins

Dec 13, 2009,


Liberia is the oldest African Republic, located on the West Coast of Africa. Liberia was founded in 1822 by the American Colonization Society as a safe haven for freed slaves returning home from the Americas to greater freedom. Liberia became a republic in 1847.

On April 12, 1980, the government of Liberia was overthrown in a bloody coup. The then president William R. Tolbert (descendent of freed slaves) was executed along with 12 of his cabinet ministers. The 12 cabinet ministers were rounded up and executed by firing squad by band of young immature army officers at the Barclay training Center (Army Barracks). This would lead to a full blown civil war after 9 years.

After the Coup, master sergeant Samuel K, Doe who was of the Krahn tribal grouping (a native ethnic group based in the south eastern region of Liberia) which had overthrown the government, was head of the PRC (people’s redemption council) and would be in charge for the next 9 years.

During the 9 years, the Krahns went on the rampage and people feared for the lives. After the 9 years, Liberians that went into exile, put a group together calling themselves the NPFL (National Patriotic Front of Liberia) which was lead by Charles G. Taylor, a former General Services Agency Director. Mr. Taylor led a group of Liberians who had been undergoing Special Forces training in the Islamic republic of Libya. According to Kulah (1999), “Taylor was seen as a charismatic leader whose command of words and smooth talking ability convinced even the most serious antagonist”. (p.42)

On December 24, 1989, NPFL entered Liberia from the eastern border town of Gbutuo in Nimba County. The rebels advanced quickly because Liberians were in favor of the rebels, and as the

rebels came through the various towns many young men joined the revolution. The government of Liberia tried to allay the fears of the citizens by the claiming the uprising would be brought under control. The rapid advance of the rebels and the frequent defeat of the government forces in the rural areas became evident from reports from the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) and the local papers. By this time, the Krahn ethnic group and the Government of Liberia went on killing spree, killing and maiming their counterparts. Liberia was in a state of anarchy. When the NPFL was almost on the verge of ceasing Monrovia, which is the capital of Liberia, a split in the NPFL ensued. The breakaway faction was led by Special Forces Prince Y, Johnson and was called INPFL (Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia). Taylor and the NPFL controlled the eastern section of Monrovia and the rest of the country; The INPFL dominated northern Monrovia, including Bushrod Island and the settlement of Caldwell, which became Prince Johnson’s military base.

A relationship quickly developed between President Doe and General Prince Johnson. The friendship seemed cordial, but it was a dangerous one. Johnson visited President Doe at the Barclay Training Center. According to both President Doe and Gen. Johnson, Taylor was the common enemy and that upon informing the other before hand, they could exchange visits.

Unfortunately, president Doe made a deadly mistake of going to the Freeport of Monrovia on Bushrod Island, which was manned by Gen. Johnson and the INPFL, without Gen Johnson’s consent. Gen Johnson known for his erratic behavior, told president Doe that he was not aware of president Doe’s visit to the Freeport. No amount of reasoning could stop Gen. Johnson. In a burst of anger, Doe was shot in the leg and eventually tortured to death. With the death of President Doe,


Dr. Amos Sawyer was flown into Liberia and inducted by the chief justice of Liberia as...

References: Kulah, A, Liberia will rise again. (1999)
Johnson- Sirleaf, E This child will be great. (2007)
Moran,M, The violence of democracy. (2005)
1 Taylor trial website:
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