By Robbie Corey-Boulet | The Nation|
Emmanuel Nimley first met Mohammed Jabbateh, a warlord known as Jungle Jabbah, on a bridge outside Monrovia, the Liberian capital. It was the dry season of 1992, during a stalemate in Liberia’s first civil war, which would ultimately kill tens of thousands of people.
At the time, Nimley was operating a successful transport company, and Jabbateh, a commander in the ULIMO rebel group, had sent aides to Nimley’s office with a business proposition. He wanted to know if Nimley would make some of his trucks available to the rebels to move rubber from western Liberia, where Jabbateh’s forces held territory, to the Monrovia port.
In a war that was already turning Liberia into a byword for wanton brutality, the ULIMO fighters, and Jabbateh in particular, stood out as especially fearsome, reportedly committing all manner of killings, torture, and sexual violence. Their ranks included a number of “heartmen,” a term referring to perpetrators of ritual killings who sometimes extracted, cooked, and ate the hearts of their victims, believing this would bring them strength. Nimley, familiar with such stories, had no interest in going into business with them, and initially tried to decline Jabbateh’s offer. But Jabbateh’s men insisted that Nimley speak with their boss directly.
Source: The Nation