Evangelist Joshua Milton Blahyi alias who was once referred to as General Butt Naked during the heat of the Liberian civil unrest has reported accepted to be the head of a group believed to be a paramilitary group under the banner, “Rescue Solider” of the opposition Unity party (UP)
With the slogan,”Don’t try it,” the group has pledged its loyalty to former Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai with the aim of protecting the vote of Unity Party in the ensuing runoff.
Speaking to a team journalist’s Tuesday, November 7, 2023 at the Grassroots Development Movement (GDM) Party Headquarter in Congo Town, during an endorsement ceremony of Amb. Boakai by third place Presidential Candidate, Edward W. Appleton, Jr., Evangelist Blahyi said he and his militants have come to grace the endorsement of Amb. Boakai by providing security protection as Ambassador Boakai is now strategically pursed to become Liberia’s next President.
Joshua Milton Blahyi who fought the war and was accused of atrocities while protecting his kinsmen, is a Liberian evangelical preacher, writer and former warlord best known for his barbaric actions during the first Liberian civil war.
During the conflict, Blahyi led a group of soldiers which fought on the side of rebel group United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO-J) under the then commend of the late General Roosevelt Johnson before converting to Christianity and becoming a Pastor in 1996.
Blahyi joined ULIMO, a rival militia group and operated primarily around the Monrovia area. During the conflict, Blahyi and his men, a group of soldiers known as the Naked Base Commandos, fought without clothing and perpetrated numerous atrocities, including child sacrifice and cannibalism.
”We have come to support a strategic coalition. We have come to bring our presence to a strategic coalition; we are talking about people that matters. For Appleton to join us today gives us confidence to protect the vote of the people. And so, we have come as the,”Rescue Soldier,” he stated.
Blahyi abandoned his life as a warlord and turned to preaching after undergoing a religious conversion in 1996, attributing these actions to receiving a vision of Jesus. In 2008, Blahyi testified at the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), claiming that his victims numbered at least 20,000 individuals. The public testimony brought mixed reactions and led to international attention, leading Blahyi to be featured in several documentaries.
According to him, the objective of the Rescue Soldier is to ensure that the people votes are protected and to counter attacks.
Mr. Blahyi and his team were dressed in dominate blacked and came in the compound of the GDM in a black pickup with inscription, “Rescue Soldier,” with the slogan or motto,”Don’t try it.”
He believes that his presence along with his paramilitary group will give the voters and Liberian citizens confidence because they are afraid that when they vote, their vote will be stolen, something he said his presence and group is there to motivate Liberian to vote because their vote will be protected and not stolen.
Also, responding to the establishment of the group and his history of war, Mr. Blahyi said his group means no harm and the slogan, ”Don’t tried it,” doesn’t mean any harm because it doesn’t represent gun.