General Butt Naked – ‘The Most Evil Man in the World’


It is 1982 and as day breaks in Liberia, the Krahn tribe prepares for the initiation of its high priest. Against the sound of the drumbeat, he is taken to an isolated area, led by a man in a carved black mask. The priest stands before an altar, naked. The elders bring a little girl, unclothe her and smear her body with clay. The priest slays the child. In a ritual that spans three days, her heart and other body parts are removed and eaten. In the course of those days the priest has a vision: he meets the devil who tells him he will become a great warrior. The devil says to increase his power he must continue the rituals of child sacrifice and cannibalism. The initiation is complete and the priest is now one of the most powerful leaders in West Africa. The priest is 11 years old. 

War and peace: Former African warlord Pator Joshua Milton Blahyi chats to Edna Fernandes

War and peace: Former African warlord Pator Joshua Milton Blahyi chats to Edna Fernandes

As prophesied, the boy priest grew up to become one of Liberia’s most notorious warlords: General Butt Naked. He and his boy soldiers would charge into battle naked apart from boots and machine guns. The initiation sacrifice that he carried out aged 11 was the first life he took out of the 20,000 deaths for which he now claims responsibility. His rivals dispute the number of deaths as impossible to prove. Yet what is indisputable is that during Liberia’s 14 years of civil war, the man became known as one of the most inhumane and ruthless guerrilla leaders in Africa’s history.

After the former General Butt Naked confessed his past to Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 2008, one internet blogger asked: ‘Is this the most evil man who ever lived?’ His crimes included child sacrifice, cannibalism, the exploitation of child soldiers and trading blood diamonds for guns and cocaine, which he fed to boy soldiers as young as nine. Yet today he says he is a reformed man. In July 1996, the warlord had ‘an epiphany’. Having spent 14 years holding nightly conversations with the devil, he had a blinding vision of Christ who told him to end the killings and convert. This was a Damascene conversion like no other: the former tribal priest and warlord is now known as Pastor Joshua Milton Blahyi. Aged 39, he is married, a father of three and lives as a Christian preacher. 

General Butt Naked: Joshua Milton Blahyi threatens a fellow fighter with a knife in May 1996War crimes: Blahyi (pictured as a young soldier) says he is willing to go to the International Criminal Court at The Hague to be tried

General Butt Naked: Joshua Milton Blahyi threatens a fellow fighter with a knife in May 1996; War crimes: Blahyi (pictured as a young soldier) says he is willing to go to the International Criminal Court at The Hague to be tried

He says if he can change, anyone can. He also calls for the tribal religious practice of child sacrifice and cannibalism to end, saying it still goes on in Liberia to this day. Liberia’s TRC, set up to investigate the war’s atrocities, reported in 2009 and called for a pardon for Blahyi on the grounds of his candour and remorse. Now in an exclusive interview with The Mail on Sunday, Blahyi says he is willing to go the International Criminal Court at The Hague and be tried for war crimes. He lifts the lid on Liberia’s secret societies that conduct child sacrifice and cannibalism, as well as his role in the war  –  and his desire to change. His interview paints a terrifying portrait of one man’s descent into Hell and his quest for redemption. It is a confession that will leave many asking whether such crimes can ever be forgiven. It is a question he asks himself.

For years Blayhi was priest and warrior for his tribe. He coerced his brigade of 80 boys to kill without pity. Yet the turning point came. It was the summer of 1996 and his clansmen were caught up in a ferocious battle. It was decided that a sacrifice was needed. As the rockets rained down, a mother brought her three-year-old daughter to him. Something about the child struck the pitiless General and for the first time in his life he hesitated. As he relives the moment with me, his face becomes contorted. ‘The child was very unusually beautiful and kind. Most of the children are brought to me by the elders, they’re crying, they’re fighting. This child was peaceful,’ he recalls. ‘I thought, “This child must not die.” I struggled. ‘Of all of the thousands that I killed, I wish I did not kill that little girl . . . ‘ his voice trails off. He is close to tears for the first and only time. ‘Right after killing her, I had my epiphany.’ Within months he had left the Butt Naked Brigade and by the end of September 1996 he was baptised in the sea near Monrovia.

In the eyes of others Blahyi is not just a pastor: he is still seen as the murderous General and cannibal. His reputation and name still strikes terror into Liberian hearts. … ‘Did you sleep well?’ he asks. ‘Yes,’ I lie. ‘You?’ ‘Very well.’ ‘You seemed upset at the end of our interview,’ ‘I was. But I always sleep well. No matter what.’ … When Blayhi takes the microphone, the place erupts. He is electrifying and sinister at the same time. His sermon ranges from the dangers of fast food to the devil’s ways and to the inappropriate dress sense of singer Beyonce. An hour later, sweating in his red suit, he leaves the building to sit alone in the shade, praying. Preaching is now his mission and part of that is saving former child soldiers.

Liberia is a country with 80 per cent unemployment. Eighty-five per cent of its 3.9 million population live on less than 78p per day, according to UN figures. Inter-tribal warfare brought Liberia to its knees.

Could victims really go back to living alongside their persecutors? I ask Information Minister Norris Tweah. ‘Everyone’s a victim here,’ he says. ‘Everybody lost somebody. In a country where everyone was complicit, everyone has blood on their hands, where does the blame end?’ Blahyi is in no doubt that saying sorry is not enough. Talking to him inside the shade of an empty church, he says he feels forgiven by God. But forgiveness on Earth is another matter. ‘I believe the Bible strongly and it says God has forgiven me.’ Would you be willing to be tried for war crimes at The Hague? ‘Yes. I would say I am guilty and if the law says I should be jailed for war crimes, then jail me. If the law says I should be hanged, then hang me.’ Blayhi tells me he still struggles to cope with the enormity of his savagery. At times it threatens to break him. Did you think of suicide? ‘Many times.’

This is his fate from now on: for as long as he lives, no matter how much he reforms, he will never be able to escape the horror of his past. The story of Joshua Milton Blahyi is more than a story of Africa’s bloodshed and savagery. It is also a story of a man struggling for redemption and change. His victims cannot forgive him. He is more likely to face a bullet in the head than the day in court he says he wants. But his story is evocative of his country as it struggles to leave the demons behind and look to a future of prosperity and peace.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1333465/Liberias-General-Butt-Naked-The-evil-man-world.html#ixzz16gfVKvMS

About Alex Imreh

http://www.aleximreh.ro http://www.facebook.com/alex.imreh 0742-669918
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One Response to General Butt Naked – ‘The Most Evil Man in the World’

  1. philip says:

    he still need to pay forthe crimes

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