Ambassador Al-Hassan Conteh

April 6th, 1996: An Excerpt from a Forthcoming Book by Al-Hassan Conteh, Ph.D.

It is almost three decades since the diabolical “April 6th” debacle occurred in Monrovia. The Liberian warring factions were wielding power among themselves over an arrest warrant for a competing rebel leader. All hell broke loose in Monrovia on that day. The combat utterly destroyed the city. I was awoken today, April 6th, 2024,  with an overwhelming feeling of reflection, almost like a repeated dream, on the tragic death on that day of Old Man Mohammed A. Waritay, Sr., my father-in-law. Operatives of a warring faction (names withheld) tragically murdered him at his Sinkor residence and dumped his body by the roadside. I received the sad news by a phone call from the late Minister Lansana Kromah amidst the heavy bombardment in Monrovia, where my late brother-in-law, Mohammed Waritay, and almost a dozen children from the Waritay Perry Street yard, had taken refuge on the fourth floor of the abandoned Ducor hotel.

To make matters worse, I got another surreal call that the Conteh Yard at Sekou Toure Avenue was on fire at the hand of a general from the same warring faction (name withheld). Watching the city from my high vantage point at the top of the Ducor  Hotel, I saw a flurry of smoke from Sekou Toure Avenue. The fire and the fighting had become so intense that I could still feel the revelation.  When the fighting subsided in the early afternoon, I witnessed another shocker: the ECOMOG soldiers (West African peacekeepers protecting the Ducor Hotel) were abandoning their post.

At that point, I prevailed on Mohammed to find our way to Virginia, on the outskirts of Monrovia, for safety. The late Dr. Bangalee Fofana joined us on that daring walk to Virginia under intense gunfire. We spent the night at the base of the Sierra Leone peacekeepers in a small mosquito-infested room and continued our journey the following morning. In Virginia, the Ambassador of Guinea provided us with temporary sanctuary, where Nyama, my sister-in-law, had taken refuge.  Lamini Waritay, my brother-in-law, and I,  however, decided to relocate to a villa that a friend, Edward Merab, provided us with. From that relative safety, I contacted the United Nations Office in Freetown as I was then the Director of its demographic project at the University of Liberia. Lamini,Nyama, Dr. Fofana and his children left the country by ship for Freetown and Conakry. The UN sent a chopper to ferry me to Freetown, where I spent a couple of days at the residence of my UN boss before flying to Philadelphia to rejoin my family. May God Almighty have mercy on Old Man Waritay and the thousands of Liberians who perished on that fateful day at the hands of Liberian warring factions. May their souls rest in perfect peace.

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5 Comments
  1. Charles Luogon says

    Well, after reading this short info, I held my breath for a while before writing this short comment. When the real season comes, l will publish a booklet because no amount of data will be able to hold my comment on social media. It was deadly. APRIL 20, 1996 was my very first time to enter Monrovia in search of my son, Shadrach Luogon. He was staying with his aunt, and I got info that she was killed by bullets that bored the all-zinc structure she was living in. Well I found my son and we are still alive today, but! When the full time comes, we will talk, just as the full time came and GOD sent forth HIS SON.

  2. Anonymous says

    Most of the people whom names you called in this writing are all Mandingos.
    Why the content were only surrounding Mandingos?
    According to April 6’s story, it was deadly.

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