We vividly recall how Samuel Doe drove Liberia into civil war with his corrupt economic actions and, worse, the indiscriminate killings by his death squads marauding everywhere, exterminating innocent men, women and children. Even after the Lutheran Church massacre on July 29, 1990, when over 600 people seeking refuge there were hacked to death, masterminded by Doe himself, ECOWAS said and did nothing. Nothing until a Liberian journalist who during a brief exile with his family in Accra, Ghana, called his friend, British Ambassador in Banjul, Alec Ibbot, and asked, “Ambassador, have you heard the news?”
Yes, Kenneth. Dreadful, isn’t it?”
The journalist then appealed to him to contact his Western diplomatic colleagues and go and see President Dawda K. Jawara and tell him to SAY something and DO something. For at that point, July 30, not a single African leader had said a word about the Lutheran church massacre in Monrovia.
Ambassador Ibbot and his Western diplomatic colleagues immediately contacted Foreign Minister Omar Sey, who relayed their request to the President. Jawara was then Chair of the six-member ECOWAS Mediation Committee—The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo. He immediately convened an urgent meeting of the Committee on August 6-7, 1990. It was during that meeting that the decision was made to send ECOMOG, an ECOWAS peace-keeping contingent, to Liberia.