The transcripts of the trial of Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia. More…

When I came back to Liberia I tried to call on the warring factions to bring them together and MODEL was very receptive to the whole invitation. MODEL was willing to come and LURD was willing to come, and before they started communicating with me that he was coming for peace talk to Liberia, or to me in Monrovia, he also added his own idea that he did not have television. He wanted a satellite television, a DSTV in Gbarnga at his headquarters in Bomi Hills where he was stationed. The leader of LURD, Sekou Conneh, he was staying there. I promised him that I will send him the satellite TV and that I was going to send him gasoline for his vehicles and he must come to see me in Monrovia, but unfortunately for me I spoke to the head of the peacekeepers at that time, the troops from Nigeria, he agreed, he made the arrangements and I prepared food, dancers, the cultural troops of Liberia were present to receive him, but unfortunately for me at a marketplace called Red Light, before reaching my compound, three pick-ups loaded with armed men came with a heavy force and when they entered the market they asked the people to close the market down and that they were on their way to the President's house and that they did not want anybody on the road. Then the market people said, "No, if you are coming for peace talk you shouldn't come like this with arms and ammunition."

All they did was that the peacekeepers asked me to disarm everybody that I had around me, because my soldiers should be disarmed because it will not - the commander of LURD will be afraid that he was coming to my house and if he saw people hanging around my house with arms, and I did that. When I heard later that there was fighting going on with the marketers and that they jumped out of the pick-up, they were stopping the people not to go, because - to come to me, because they said their intention was not good.

Then about an hour I heard gunshots in the market and then the only peacekeepers assigned to me, the commander said to me that I should go into the Moak [phon] and run away for my safety, because he said the group that was coming to me - but I said, "I will not run. As long as I am President of Liberia, if you are powerful, if you are big, if you come here to kill me you will kill me as President." So there was a big argument. So I went to the back to my men who were disarmed and I asked them to rearm them and then we went to the place, to the marketplace, where the shooting was taking place, but at that time the LURD leader, Sekou Conneh, had turned his vehicle and he was running back to Bomi Hills where he came from and in that incident about three people were killed. I took the bodies, I sent the bodies to funeral homes and these people who were killed were market women. They were not involved with war, only that they got killed during crossfire and that discouraged the peace meeting for a while, and later I rearranged for a latter date for peace talks to resume. That was how I started bringing peace to Liberia.

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