Former NPFL ‘General Octopus’ Heralds Latest Appointments in UP Govt.

Source:  FrontPage Africa
Monrovia –

John T. Richardson, the head of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia’s ill-fated Operation Octupus blamed for the deaths of five American Catholic nuns with the Catholic Church in Liberia has become the latest former NPFL senior commanders to land a job in the Liberian government.

Richardson, was one of several appointments to government jobs named by the Executive Mansion late Tuesday. Richardson, according to an Executive Mansion statement was appointed as Chairman of the Board of the National Housing Authority. Appointments to agency boards do not require confirmation hearings and only requires periodic meetings in most cases.

Richardson’s appointment follows the recent appointment of Roland Duo by the President as Special Project Coordinator assigned with the National Security Agency (NSA). Richardson is also listed on the United Nations Travel Ban and Assets Freeze list.

Richardson’s appointment comes amid criticisms from various circles in recent months that the ruling Unity Party government has not been doing enough to take members of the Charles Taylor government off the United Nations travel and assets freeze list. Addressing a joint FrontPageAfrica, Star Radio and Power TV interview last week, Charles Brumskine, Political Leader of the opposition Liberty Party said he could not understand why the current government was not advocating for Taylor-era officials to come off the U.N. sanctions.

Said Brumskine: “I do not understand why the travel ban remains on Liberians. I don’t know if they are accused of committing any crime outside Liberia. I believe they’re accused, if they are, of doing things in Liberia. If anyone has been charged with anything, he should be accorded the due process of law so he can regain his life and move forward.”

Adopted March 12, 2004, Resolution 1532 of the Security Council imposed the travel restriction to prevent former President Taylor, his immediate family members, in particular Jewell Howard-Taylor who is now Senior Senator of Bong County and Charles Taylor, Jr. who is currently serving a 97-year jail sentence, senior officials of the former Taylor regime, or other close allies or associates. The intent, according to the Council, is to avoid what it said is the misappropriation of funds and property to interfere in the restoration of peace and stability in Liberia and the West African sub-region. Urey was recently appointed Mayor of Careysburg.

Brumskine took the government to tasks for taking no interest in ensuring that the travel-tied Liberians, most of who are serving in her government dominantly as legislators, are lifted off the ban. Said the Liberty Party leader: “If I was President, I would be pushing on behalf of my fellow citizens to ensure that they get the due process of law. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that one who has committed an offense should be allowed and go sky-free .Charge the person. Let the person be accorded the due process of law. If not, let him go”, the Liberty Party Political Leader stated.

Richardson, a spokesperson for the NPFL, it can be recalled, acknowledged in an interview with the watchdog group, Human Rights Watch in 2008 that the NPFL used children as fighters for their own protection. Said Richardson: “We never conscripted children by force. The kids in the NPFL insisted they wanted to fight and would get into it no matter what. The NPFL has been accused of creating a Small Boys Unit [known as the sbu]. But it is not a Small Boys Unit, it is a Special Bodyguard Unit. The boys in it are assigned to protect NPFL ministers. Five or six boys were assigned to me.”

Richardson explained at the time that the NPFL recruited young boys to protect the kids – to make sure they eat, wash, and read. “These kids wouldn’t go to church or wash if they were left alone. We’ve fed and clothed them.”

Under Richardson’s command, NPFL officers Christopher Vambo and Edward Wowah were blamed for the killing of five American missionaries. Duo has been linked to the wanton killings orchestrated near the Mahare River, an episode of the Liberian War now referred to as “Mahare Bridge Massacre”.

Others appointed Tuesday include:

Mr. David B. Barcolleh, Gardnerville Township, Acting Commissioner; Ms. Yah Martor Zolia, Ministry of Health & Social Welfare; Acting Assistant Minister for Planning, Research Development; Madam Mary Larteh, Salala District, Bong County, Acting Commissioner, Mr. Togba Bestman, Butaw District, Sinoe County, Acting Commissioner, Ms. Aissa D. Bright, Ministry of Information, Culture & Tourism, Acting Assistant Minister for Tourism; Mr. Neto Zarzar Lighe, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Assistant Minister for Administration, Mr. Mustapha Kamara, Liberia Produce Marketing Corporation, Member, Board of Directors and Mr. Boima Quaye Taweh, Gbarpolu County, Acting Superintendent.


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