Wednesday, November 2, is the expected forced arrival date for 1,560 Liberians, including the former speaker of the People’s Redemption Council (PRC), Jeffery Gbatu.
The deportees, reports indicate, were involved in various crimes, including felony that makes an alien ineligible to reside in the United States.
Mr. Gbatu, who has been residing in the United States since the civil-war in the 1990, was caught by US authorities for his role in the bloodletting that climaxed the brutal takeover of the government in 1980, murdering at least 13 government officials, including Mr. A. B. Tolbert, the son of President William R. Tolbert.
The People’s Redemption Council (PRC) government, headed by Samuel Kanyon Doe, wrestled power from the century old True Whig Party (TWP), accused officials of rampant corruption and shot them point blank strapped behind poles on Barclay Training Center beach, as the mantra ‘In the Cause of the People the Struggle Continues,’ popularized by so-called Liberian progressives, filled the streets of Monrovia.
As rivalry set in its own ranks, the LPRC began to “eat its own men” within a decade of its ruling. As army strongman Samuel Doe consolidated power and began to understand what it meant to be a leader, he transitioned from military to civilian; however, destruction followed him as well. And by 1985, he had cheated on an election that set the ball rolling for the emergence of Charles Taylor, who accepted to lead armed men to remove Doe by force of arms.
On Wednesday’s expected arrivals, of the 1,560 expected back in the country, 1,500 are coming from US jails, with the other 60 coming from Canadian jails. Administration officials are not making any statements on where the deportees will be held to complete official formalities before resettling them in their various counties of origin.
Though Brigadier General Gbatu’s trouble is quite clear, it is highly likely that the Americans are not happy to allow anyone involved in ‘human rights abuses’ to seek asylum in their country.
Gbatu was first arrested on September 19 in Charlotte, North Carolina, after the U.S. Homeland Security alerted Interpol, which subsequently charged him with “war crimes and crimes against humanity” he allegedly committed in the aftermath of the 1980 coup.
Gbatu and the rest of his compatriots are coming home at a time when there are extreme challenges for jobs, but it is hoped with years in the United States they may have acquired some marketable skills that could pave their way so they won’t miss the United States and Canada that much.
Gbatu is one of three contemporaries alive today, including Kolonseh Gonyon and Joseph V. Tubman. Their 12 predecessors include Thomas Weh Syen, Thomas Quiwonkpa, Fallah G. Varney, Abraham D. Kollie, Nelson Toe, Larry Borteh, Harrison Pennoh, Albert Toe, Robert Zuo, William Gould, Robert Nuwoku, and Jerry Friday.
Gbatu’s coming home is also a reality of the United States government’s unwillingness to accommodate anyone who is accused of or has participated in violence against the innocent. His case is similar to that of George S. Boley, the former leader of the Liberian Peace Council (LPC), who committed human rights abuses during the Liberian civil war in the 1990s. He was deported to Liberia in 2012.