Liberian Rights Advocate Fears For His Life, Seeks Refuge Abroad
A Liberian rights advocate for social justice through advocacy complained of intimidation and harassment by armed groups in Liberia, mainly both the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) and the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) due to his advocacy for the rights of people who had killed in cold blood.
During the deadly Liberian civil war, specifically in 2003, innocent people were killed by armed men, as others died of severe hunger and sicknesses, many fled their respective homes as they were been targeted by armed militias, one of those who spoke to the GNN at his hidden place is Samuel Hwisedeh, one of Liberia’s renown painters is reportedly been hunt by people who are believed to be armed men for his advocacy.
During after listening to Emmanuel Savice, War Crime Advocate press conference live Samuel Hwisedeh name was mentioned, with this GNN thought it wise to reach out to Hwiseded via a mobile phone this was his narrative via Skype regarding his ordeal prior to his departure to an unknown location, Mr. Hwisedeh in a rather very long narrative, said, “I saw the need to be an advocate for social justice especially against those warlords and rebels who murdered our people and brought untold sufferings and setbacks to our country.
Though I have lived as an artist (PAINTER) all my life, but my ideal and anger was to mobilized and sensitized our communities against perpetrators of crimes against humanity and to reject all warlords/rebels from occupying public offices since our laws didn’t forbid them from contesting elections so as not to reward them with public offices through elections for bringing war on our poor masses.
So in 2011, I engaged in an effort to mobilize and educate our citizens in and out of our communities on how to make wise decision against war criminals who brought untold sufferings on them, community dwellers helped to spread the message as well As the message went far and wide those warlords began to hunt us in our communities.
My advocacy had drawn the attention of Mr. Prince Y. Johnson who was a candidate in the 2011 elections and other war criminals who brought pains on their victims, He was the fiercest warlord/ rebel general in the first Liberian civil war who murdered a sitting president on camera in 1990 and killed lots of innocent civilians including a famous Liberian musician (Tecomsey Roberts) who was a close friend to my elder brother. Mr. Johnson had won as senator for Nimba County in the 2005 elections,” he lengthily explained
On his encounter with one Liberia’s notorious rebel leaders, General Prince Y. Johnson of the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL), Mr. Hwisedeh further said, “Mr. Prince Johnson has been sending his men to harm me before and after the 2011 presidential elections in which he took part as a candidate. I have had several encounters with different groups from his camp engaging me on this issue violently, sometimes at political rallies, at times stoning my house at night, and sometimes in the public. However ,by the special grace of God he didn’t succeed.
On October 19,2011 at about 9:30, few days after the presidential elections, group of unidentified men approached me at my house in King Peter’s Town with threats shouting “we will soon get to you our enemy”, “You’re one of those who caused us to lose election” If you don’t stop your negative messages against us, we will get at you watch out”…. I actually didn’t contact the police since it was verbal and couldn’t identify them. I was confused and didn’t know what to do.
On August 30, 2014, in my absence, three unknown men broke into my house asking for me with machetes during the late night hours according to my wife who was so terrified along with my children. They harassed and tortured my wife and oldest son by hitting them in the process while lying face down after they had search the house and did not find me. When they left, my family immediately shouted out to the neighbors who ran to their rescue and contacted the Police. After we left the hospital and the police investigations were still ongoing, family members and my community chairman advised me to move to another location for safety which I did. We moved to Brewersville another location outside Monrovia about 25 minutes’ drive.
On November 1,2015, group of five unidentified men wearing masks again moved on us at our new location and broke into our house when I had just left the living room to use the bathroom which is located in the backside of the house. I heard them asking my wife and children about my whereabouts in a very loud and angry tone. I was in extreme fear because it was horrible. What came to mind was to jump through the bathroom window at the back of the house and call neighbors for help which I did. I got cuts on my both lower arms but didn’t realize it until later. The guys horribly left when neighbors started coming around when they heard my cry.
We contacted the police and I was taken to the hospital for treatment on my arms that late night. Two days after, my family and I moved to a relative of hers (uncle) in Po River about 35 minutes further.
I left Liberia on Nov.8, 2015. I arrived in the United States on NOV. 9,2015.. . After my meeting in Memphis, I went to New York to my cousin and to also visit other family members whom I haven’t seen for many years.. while I was there, I started receiving calls from my family, relatives and friends in Liberia about secret killings and plans to target and silence those of us agitating and advocating for the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia. Elections was forth coming in 2017.. .Both the government and oppositions had several of the ex-fighters within their ranks protecting their interest.
As it is today, the present government has again regrouped those ex-killers and is part of the government’s arm to carry out secret killings against advocates and threating those seen as anti-government agents. I have evidences….Those killers were disarmed and disbanded by the United Nations some years back. The president of Liberia and some members of parliament including Mr. Prince Y. Johnson and ex- fighters has openly threaten that that there will be no War Crimes Court established in Liberia, meaning there will be no justice and accountability.
I was an advocate of social justice and was already known to many people, I decided to stay away. I stayed in New York for a year and went to California for another three years. I didn’t apply for asylum because I had overstayed and also the political climate under President Donald Trump was not welcoming. I read about Canada’s immigration program on the internet and it’s encouraging so I decided to come to Canada,” Mr. Hwisedeh to our staff said.