Report about the resurfacing of Liberia’s notorious rebel commander, General Benjamin Yeaten in the Gambia with more than 200 ex-fighters from Liberia to provide protection for President Yahya Jammeh in case of any military actions by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has created serious concern in Liberia.
A local daily reported here in Monrovia on Thursday, December 22, 2016 that the ex-President Charles Taylor security commander has over the past months has been secretly recruiting several ex-fighters, mainly from the defunct rebel groups of National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) and United Liberation Movement (ULIMO).
Benjamin Yeaten, alias 50, is among the most feared bodyguards of former President Charles Taylor who is currently serving a 50-year prison term for aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sierra Leone.
Former President Taylor`s hit man has been on the run since he escaped from Liberia in 2003.
Believed to be residing in West Africa, it was recently reported that US Federal Bureau of Investigation was close to have him arrested from his hideout.
During anexhilarating but fearful testimony at the continuation of the TRC public hearings in Monrovia in 2008, one of the witnesses said General Benjamin Yeaten, former chief of staff of the disbanded Anti-Terrorist Unit (ATU) murdered his fiancée before fleeing the country in 2003.
According to the TRC released issued in Monrovia on July 22, 2008, the witness told the commissioners at the hearing that General Yeaten killed his wife before leaving the country.
The witness, who was a captive at Yeaten’s Congo Town residence for six months after he was transferred from Lofa County on suspicion of being a fighter for the LURD rebel group, explained that one day the feared ATU commander returned home and asked for tarpaulin before it was discovered that his fiancée only named “Babygirl” had been killed.
The witness, James Y. Kollie, said after the killing, which was secretly carried out under the cover of darkness, there were concerns amongst bodyguards, servants, and captives about the conspicuous absence of Babygirl.
Kollie said the remains of the victim was wrapped in the tarpaulin and transported in Yeaten’s pickup to an unknown destination.
He said before the murder he heard the victim telling a female associate only known as “Wedor” that for the first time since her acquaintance with her “husband” he had offered her liquor to drink.
Since that day, the witness explained, Babygirl was not seen in the compound.
Kollie said shortly after the killing, which was followed by the arrival of the Economic Military Intervention in Liberia (ECOMIL) peacekeepers into the country, Yeaten fled into exile.
He said during his period of captivity several other captives were paired and ordered to fight until one of them got killed.
In one of the incidents, Kollie explained, the nephew of a captive was killed him in a grueling fight.
The establishment of Liberia`s TRC was agreed upon in the August 2003 peace agreement and created by the TRC Act of 2005. The TRC was established to “promote national peace, security, unity and reconciliation,” and at the same time make it possible to hold perpetrators accountable for gross human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law that occurred in Liberia between January 1979 and October 2003.
The Liberian civil crisis which claimed the lives of nearly 400,000 people forced several hundreds of thousands homeless and some sought refuge in the other neighboring countries.