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A deportation date has reportedly been set for Jeffery Gbatu, the former speaker of Samuel Doe’s People’s Redemption Council and the only surviving member of the April 12 1980 coup that ended decades of Americo-Liberian rule in Liberia.
General Jeffery Gartu will be deported from the USA on November 1, 2016 back to Liberia. He is among 20 other Liberians excepted to be deported to Liberia
FrontPageAfrica has reliably learnt that Gbatu, a Colonel of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) at the time of the coup, would be deported from the United States of America on November 1, 2016 back to Liberia along with 20 other Liberian deportees.
FrontPageAfrica reported last week that Washington was piling pressure on Liberia to deport scores of Liberians said to be on deportation watch as President Barack Obama is in rush to reduce the prison population before leaving office.
The seriousness of the action was shown when the U.S. took a decision on October 1, 2016 that it would no longer issue new visas to officials of the Gambian government, their spouses or children, due to a longstanding dispute over President Yahya Jammeh’s government’s refusal to accept Gambian citizens being deported from the U.S.
FrontPage Africa has gathered that more than 1,560 Liberians in the United States of America and Canada are awaiting deportation.
About 1,500 are said to be awaiting deportation in the United States while another 60 in Canada are awaiting deportation to Liberia.
While it is unclear why Gbatu is being deported, the action does coincide with recent moves by the U.S. to rid itself of former officials from countries around the world tied to war crimes.
In 2008, the U.S. immigration agency set up a war crimes section which investigated immigrants from former conflict zones such as Ethiopia, Rwanda and Liberia.
Gbatu was a member of the PRC led by Doe who served as chairman of the Council, which seized power and toppled the William R. Tolbert government.
The council consisted of 17 soldiers, mostly dead. Gbatu is believed to be the only surviving member of the Council. Other members of the Council included: 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, Jerry Friday, Joseph V. Tubman and Kortonseh Gonyon.
The Council’s members consisted of individuals from various ethnic groups including the Krahn, Gio, Kru, Sarpo and Kissi.
The coup marked the first time that Liberia was governed by members of ethnic tribes, not the powerful, minority Americo-Liberian elites.
Last March the New York Times reported that the Americans were in the process of trying to deport 150 Bosnian immigrants believed to be involved in war crimes during the 1992-95 war.
According to the report, 300 people were suspected of having concealed wartime activities when they came to the US.
As many as half are said to have had a part in the Srebrenica massacre, where 8,000 Bosnian Muslims died.
More than 120,000 Bosnians sought US visas in the mid-90s, but little effort was made to check their backgrounds.
They were asked to declare military serVice or other allegiances but the immigration system relied mostly on their honesty, the New York Times adds.
More than 100,000 people were killed and two million – about half Bosnia’s population – displaced in the three-and-a-half-year conflict.
The Daily Observer newspaper reported recently that Gbatu was arrested on Monday, 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, » which he allegedly committed in the aftermath of the 1980 coup.
As Speaker of the Council, Gbatu, a commissioned Brigadier/General played a major role in the Doe era.
The PRC came under immense criticism in the aftermath of the coup following the execution of several members of the Tolbert’s government.
Gbatu reportedly settled in the U.S. after fleeing during the civil war from Liberia. He has reportedly been a taxi driver in the United States for the last five to six years.
Gbatu, like many of the original 17 members of the April 12 coup, fell out with Doe in the aftermath of the 1985 Quiwonkpa invasion and the 1985 elections, as Doe transitioned from a military to a democratic leader.
Gbatu’s pending deportation follows a string of recent actions against former warlords and individuals connected to war crimes in Liberia.
Charles McArthur Emmanuel, also known as Chuckie Taylor, the son of former President Charles Taylor became the commander of the infamously violent Anti-Terrorist Unit (ATU), commonly known in Liberia as the « Demon Forces ».
He is currently serving a 97-year sentence in Florida for his role in human rights violations carried out by the ATU.
George Boley, the former leader of the Liberian Peace Council (LPC) who committed human rights abuses during the Liberian civil war in the 1990s was deported to Liberia in 2012, capping an effort by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to investigate the case and win the former warlord’s removal from the United States.
At the time of Mr. Boley’s deportation, ICE Director at the time, John Morton said the removal was a major step in addressing the serious human rights abuses Mr. Boley perpetrated in Liberia in the 1990s.
« The United States has always welcomed refugees and those fleeing oppression, but we will not be a safe haven for human rights violators and war criminals.
George Boley’s removal is the first ever U.S. deportation based on the use of child soldiers in war, and represents the culmination of extensive efforts by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents,
Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers and ICE attorneys to vindicate the rights of those who suffered at Mr. Boley’s hands during the Liberian Civil War. »
Additionally, Mohammed Jabateh, a former fighter of the United Liberation Movement for Democracy in Liberia (ULIMO), one of the factions in the Liberian 14-year civil crisis, was arrested in the US state of Philadelphia on a similar charge.
Jabateh, 49, was detained following an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigation unit. An unsealed indictment charged Jabateh with immigration fraud and perjury.
According to the indictment, in December of 1998, when making application for asylum and later for permanent legal residency, Jabbateh, aka « Jungel Jabbah », lied about his activities during Liberia’s first civil war, while he was a member of ULIMO and later ULIMO-K, a rebel group that battled for control of Liberia.
Since fiscal year 2004, ICE has arrested more than 200 individuals for human rights-related violations under various criminal and/or immigration statutes.
During that same period, ICE obtained deportation orders and physically removed more than 400 known or suspected human rights violators from the United States.
Currently, HSI has more than 200 active investigations and ICE is pursuing more than 1,900 leads and removal cases involving suspected human rights violators from nearly 95 different countries.
Varney Doe son of late President Doe who President Doe named after Fallah Varney who was jailed for a while but reported on parole is said to be among the deportees. Albert Moore, an LNP aide recently arrested over alleged gun running operations is also said to be among those likely to be deported.
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