Monrovia, August 26, 2008: Popular musician Tecumseh Roberts was executed by Samuel Varnii, the deputy leader of the defunct INPFL, the head of the former warring faction Prince Johnson said.
Mr. Johnson said Varnii shot Roberts (now deceased) in his (Johnson) presence because, according to him, he was involved in homosexuality.
Mr. Johnson, now senior senator of Nimba County, said Mr. Roberts was engaged in the distribution of rice in his control territories on Bushrod Island during the heydays of the civil conflict until he was discovered to be a “gay.” Johnson said when Roberts was arrested he was in the company of a Caucasian man who was later released.
He has been testifying in continuation of the ongoing Institutional and Thematic Inquiry Hearings of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion in Monrovia where a mammoth crowd turned up Tuesday to witness the proceedings.
Mr. Johnson said following the discovery of musician Roberts, a stream of blood flowed down his pants leading to the confirmation of suspicion by Gen. Varnii that the musician was a “homosexual.”
“Gen. Varnii ordered Tecumseh Roberts to take off his trouser and when he (latter) took off his trouser, it was discovered that his butt [anal] was rotten. The man whole anus was rotten,” the senator told commissioners.
Following the discovery that he was a homosexual, Johnson said, Gen. Varnii shot and killed Mr. Roberts.
Meanwhile, former People’s Redemption Council (PRC) junta member, Larry Borteh, then Youth and Sports Minister Fred Blay, and AFL officer Roosevelt Savice, were executed for conniving with beleaguered President Samuel K. Doe, Mr. Johnson told commissioners of the TRC.
Johnson said both Blay and Savice were caught communicating with President Doe and executed. Borteh, he said was arrested for conniving with the embattled president, was tried by a rebel tribunal and executed.
Under the theme: “Understanding the Conflict Through its Principal Events and Actors,” the ongoing hearings will address the root causes of the conflict, including its military and political dimensions.
The hearings are focused on events between 1979 and 2003 and the national and external actors that helped to shape those events.
The TRC was agreed upon in the August 2003 peace agreement and created by the TRC Act of 2005. The TRC was established to “promote national peace, security, unity and reconciliation,” and at the same time make it possible to hold perpetrators accountable for gross human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law that occurred in Liberia between January 1979 and October 2003.