Hunting generals and a few other things

“Look there is a general”, shouts our assistant, and we all get out of the car to extend greetings with a rather surprised former general with mild looking eyes. We are in Zwedru, the capital of Grand Gedeh County in Eastern Liberia, for a few days doing research former commanders and their roles in the post-war and former generals of MODEL are not too hard to find in Zwedru. However they are afraid to talk as it has been rumored for some time that there are training camps in the county and the police have arrested some former combatants allegedly have something to do with that. “But why should we train?” some former generals ask, “we are already properly trained”. Last year’s election in Liberia created some tensions in the country, between the ruling UP party and the oppositional party CDC. Grand Gedeh is a CDC stronghold. Grand Gedehians also point out that they were loyal and militarily active in pushing Charles Taylor and his regime out of the country but have not received any thanks and benefits from the current government. Their county remains very much marginal in Liberian politics as well as economy. To make the situation more delicate many inhabitants spent long stints of the war years on the other side of the border in Côte d’Ivoire (C.I.) or have relatives there. The change of government in C.I., a government that many Grand Gedehians supported, meant that both Liberians and Ivoirians residing on the Ivorian side had to run away from property and livelihood to take refuge on Liberian territory. Today they say that Burkinabes, but in reality it is people from the north of C.I, have taken over the prosperous plantation economy in C.I., whilst about 69.000 refugees of Ivorian origin and a large but unknown number of Liberians were forced into Liberia. This is naturally creating tension. These are some of the topics that I intend to publish on my blog over the next few days. Findings are temporary and originate from my last research trip in Liberia.

This entry was posted in Elections, Mid-Level Commanders, Post Conflict and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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