LUTHERAN CHURCH MASSACRE SURVIVORS, VICTIMS NARRATE BITTER EXPERIENCE BY: JULIUS KONTON

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In an emotional faction while reflecting on the painful and tragic moment on that faithful day, some survivors of the infamous Lutheran Church Massacre narrated how they lost family members, friends and love ones during Liberia’s dark past.

Narrating his experience,  one of the survivors said, ”  I saw the people entered from the church backdoor and line-up in the church and  they later started shooting and killing men, women and Children, I  wanted to go upstairs  but there was no way so I just drop under the bench, I heard my son saying Papa, we are dying, but nothing I  could do at the time to help him.”

According to the massacre victim, he got shot in the leg during the process and was lucky to have sustained wounds among others unlike those who unfortunately loss their lives.

Explaining further, the victim disclosed that he saw about nine hundred people at the Lutheran Church who all went to seek refuge at the Church some of them  he stated came from JFK and other places but unfortunately, the Church too could not save them as most of them got shot and killed by what he described as wicked and heartless people.

“I thank God for making me survived the Lutheran Church Massacre and I am today serving as a living testimony, to let people know that God cares,” he noted.

According to another victim and survivor of the infamous Lutheran Church Massacre, she appreciates God for being alive today, however, she feels useless only because she cannot do anything for herself due to the terrible wounds sustained as a result of the massacre.

 “As I speak to you, I still have two bullets in my back, I was taken to the Catholic Hospital by a Catholic Bishop, an X-ray was done but according to the doctor, if they remove the bullets from where it is currently, I will die,” she concluded in tears.

At the same time, another victim and survival who lost all of her children, including husband and now lives with one leg, said she normally does not like to come to the Lutheran Church because it always reminds her of the painful and horrible experience she had thirty three years ago.

“I lost my leg in the heavy shooting at the Church including my four children and husband; this is painful,” she noted.

The emotional testimony by the victim did not end due to an outburst of sorrows, tears and heart-breaking moment.

According to the victims, they want those who committed such hideous crime against them including other innocent people to face the full weight of the law in order to serve as a deterrent to other-would be criminals.

They, at the same time, called on the government to see the need to help victims and survivors of the Lutheran Church Massacre as well as others who were badly affected as a result of the crisis.

Meanwhile, the heartless situation meted against some innocent people at the Church by their own people has now been recorded in the history of Liberia and also re-emphasized the need for actions to be taken in order to avoid the recurrence of the dark past.

 Among other things, the campaign for the establishment for war and economic crimes court in Liberia is no exception as victims and survivors will be happy if such justice can be achieved for the betterment of the country.

Even though Liberians have since enjoyed over seventeen years of uninterrupted peace, the silence of  guns is  no more yet the triggers still linger across all corridors of the country due to scores of unresolved issues.

Currently, there are visible signs of dissatisfaction and mix feelings amongst the people over untold suffering, hardship, corruption, rule of law and justice issues, generational gaps and under development which are mainly common amongst the already suffering masses as they continue to battle and experience the impasse for decades.

Among other issues, the people are still bitter with what they went through during the war years and want prompt intervention for justice against impunity.

According to them, the government has allegedly failed to investigate the Massacre that reportedly took place in 2009.

They made reference to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s   recommendations which among other things, call for the establishment of a war crimes court to investigate atrocities committed during the civil wars, including the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church Massacre  aimed at prosecuting  those responsible. However, to date, the Government has not been able to  do so.

Concerning the Lutheran Church Massacre, the U.S. Court finds AFL responsible in 2021, after reviewing 2,000 pages of evidence including eight witness declarations and two expert reports as the AFL particularly the SATU were responsible for the Massacre .

At the same time, the Liberian Government was sued in ECOWAS Court In 2018, when the UN Human Rights Committee directed Liberia to establish an accountability process to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of crimes committed during the civil war.

In October 2022, GIRP and three sibling survivors of the Massacre sued Liberia at the ECOWAS Court because Liberia has failed to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of the Massacre.

However, A hearing is set for September 27, 2023 at the ECOWAS Court in Abuja.

This will be the first time the Liberian Government will be forced to respond in court for its failure to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the St. Peters Lutheran Church Massacre.

At its 33rd anniversary to mark the infamous Lutheran Massacre, survivors and victims narrated with huge emotions, pains and tears on how they experienced said painful situation thirty three years ago.

As Liberians especially victims and survivors of the crisis continue to live with the scars and traumas as a result of the country’s dark past, it appears even more imperative to intensify the advocacy for the establishment of war and economic crimes court in Liberia in order to bring to book those who committed human rights violations against innocent people across the country to face justice.

 According to them,  it is time that Liberians learn from their  past and do not pay evil for good by electing people into office who committed atrocities during Liberia’s dark past  ahead of the crucial general elections this year.

Inarguably, the wounds as a result of the civil crisis have not been healed totally as many victims still live with the traumas, scars, lasting and physical wounds among others, and are desperate for national government to do the needful for the betterment of the larger society.

 

 

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