— Says a war victim, narrating her horrible experience
Lorpu Mulbah, aged 48, a war victim and a resident of the Rubber Factory Community in Bong county, has revealed that at one point in time she saw the rebel that shot her in the right leg but was advised by friends and relatives to keep quiet if she wants to stay alive.
She said it is now clear that the society cannot protect its people from those who committed terrible crimes during the civil war. “I saw the boy that shot me, but when I called the Immigration’s attention they advised me to keep quiet if I want to live”.
Lorpu is among the many war victims who continue to live with their perpetrators because the government has failed to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations.
Despite calls by civil society organizations (CSOs), human rights advocates, and activists to establish the War and economic crimes court as a recommendation within the TRC but it appears that the government has ignored this plea.
War victims have no option but to cope with the norms of living in the same locality with their perpetrators who sometimes see them physically, but cannot do any because there is no guarantee that once they point out a former rebel and perpetrator, they will face justice.
Unlike Sierra Leone that established the UN-backed Special Court to prosecute all those who committed atrocities in their civil war, Liberia is yet to adopt the same system with 17 years gone since the war ended.
Lorpu, narrating what led to the shooting, said during the 1994 war in German Camp, she was shot because the perpetrator took her cigarettes twice which got her upset and she rushed to get it from him. “When he turned back, he pointed the gun at me and shot me with the AK-47 in my right leg”.
According to her, she was eight months pregnant when the rebel heartlessly shot her. She said the bullet also affected the child. “My daughter is also crippled and is in the orphanage home because the bullet hit her foot”.
“My foot was so bad off that they had to cut it off,” said the victim.
She added, “Since I had this problem, I have been struggling with my children to survive. I sell fresh fish to survive. My people have rejected me, even where I stay now belongs to people who are not my biological relatives. They are of great help to me because they gave me a portion of their land and I built a little kitchen there where my children and I stay.”
“I sell cold shorage fish; My heart is always hurting and my body can be trembling with cold, but nothing I can do other than this.”
She narrated that “All the money I make is for a private hospital. No clinic treats war victims or disabled people free of charge. Though health authorities gave the assurance that we will be treated free at any hospital, when we go for treatment, they pay less attention to us.”
She expressed interest in attending any vocational school to acquire skills that will help her better attend to her children.