Past Hunts Benjamin Yeaten

-As Govt. Reopens Murder Case Against Him  

By R. Joyclyn Wea

It appears that the past is becoming to hunts perpetrators of crimes and all kinds of atrocities in Liberia, as their victims are now seeking redress through the court of competent jurisdiction aimed at enabling individuals (warlords) have their days in court.

One of those persons being hunted by the past is the former Director for Special Security Service (SSS), Benjamin Yeaten Alias Chief 50 who was indicted by the government of Liberia ten (10) years ago over the alleged murdered of John Yormie, the then Deputy Minister for Operations at the National Security Agency (NSA), and Isaac Vaye, Deputy Minister for Technical Services at the Ministry of Public Works.

Since the indictment by the Liberian Government in 2008, there has not been much efforts by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to bring Benjamin Yeaten, former Director for Special Security Service (SSS) to clear his name over the alleged murder of these two individuals John Yormie and Isaac Vaye, as many people are now becoming to wonder whether government has abandoned its prosecution actions of Yeaten.

In 2008, special jurors for Montserrado county, on January 9, 2008 at the Temple of Justice drew up the indictment against defendant Yeaten based on testimonies and documentary evidences of the deceased’s widows, Cynthia Howard Yormie And Suzana Vaye, who are in desperate need of justice for the alleged cold-blooded murdered of their late husbands.

Chapter 14.1 (a&b) of the New Penal Law of Liberia, Title 26, Liberian Code of Laws Revised, states that: “A person is guilty of murder if he: purposely or knowing causes the death of another human being; or causes the death of another human being under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life. A rebuttable presumption that such indifference exists arises if the defendant is engaged or is an accomplice in the commission of, or attempt to commit, or flight after committing or attempting to commit, treason, offenses defined in sections 11.2 or 11.3 of this title, espionage, sabotage, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, felonious restraint, arson, rape, aggravated involuntary sodomy, escape, piracy, or other felon involving force or danger to human life.

It is being alleged further that the prosecutor (Government) has not been able to issue an international arrest warrant or to either serve Yeaten with the court indictment but, if there were lawyers for Yeaten, he would had relied on that to file a motion for dismissal of the matter interestingly, there is no documents before the court in that direction which could likely make the defendant a free man.

Given the length of time it has lingered on the court’s docket, it remains unclear whether the matter has been declared a cold case.

It can be recalled that the two widows, Cynthia and Suzanna in their testimonies in jurors claimed that in November 1997 and up to June 5 and 8 of 2003, defendant Yeaten maliciously and intentionally shot and ordered the shooting and execution of John Yormie Deputy Minister for Operations National Security Agency (NSA) and Isaac Vaye also Deputy Minister for Technical Service at the Ministry of Public Works.

Both widows alleged that defendant Yeaten authorized the murder of former Minister of Internal Affairs, Samuel Dokie and members of his family.

Suzana in her testimony lamented that her husband was shot by Yeaten’s Special Forces who were part of his guard because he had direct control.

Suzana further claimed that her husband’s body was also dumped in the same well around the LPRC Oil Terminal sub-station, in Ganta, Nimba County.

Accordingly, Cynthia, in her testimony explained that on the night of June 5, 2003, defendant Yeaten sent for her husband with information that Yormie was needed by jailed former President Charles Taylor.

She claimed that her husband was taken from their residence along with Isaac Vaye, on the same night of June 5, 2003, in a light blue jeep marked 1249-BC and an SSS vehicle also with license plate SSS-18 escorted by two armed men, Junior Nyantee and another person who she identified only as ‘Banana’, both of whom were aides de camp to Taylor.

She however, claimed that on June 7, 2003, defendant Yeaten acknowledged to her presence of other female citizens of Nimba County that the two arrested men were in his custody and that he would release them on the next day, June 8.

From that time, madam Yormie said, they have never seen their husbands alive, but have learnt that they were instead killed upon the order of defendant Yeaten.

She further alleged that her husband was personally shot in the head by defendant Yeaten in the area she named as CNC at a cross-road between Bilpa and Bainlakpala, in Nimba County. His lifeless body was said to have been deposited in a well around the LPRC Oil Terminal Sub-station, in Ganta, Nimba County.

“The deaths of our husbands were acknowledged by President Charles G. Taylor himself who also sent his then Vice President the late Moses Blah, Harrison Narnway and Prince Myer to inform us about our husband’s death,” the widows indicated in their testimony in the jurors.

The question remains whether President George Weah would behave like his predecessor; Sirleaf to deprive the widows the justice they have sought for their dead husbands nine years ago.

Meanwhile, it is being rumored that Benjamin Yeaten is currently residing in Togo but, it is uncertain whether government would succeed in bringing him back to Liberia to face prosecution.

It is also rumored that Togo has an extradition law that prevents the government of Togo from turning over a person who have committed crime in his or her own country and had gone to sought refuge in that country (Togo) to his or her country of birth in the name of what they term as protection.

Dokie’s Death

General Benjamin Yeaten was also linked to the deaths in 1997 of former Internal Affairs Minister in the transitional government of late Professor David Kpomakpor, Samuel Saye Dokie and some family members on the Kokoyah highway in Bong County.

Dokie after the 1997 elections in which he ran unsuccessfully to become senator of his native County of Nimba was residing in Monrovia as a private citizen, and around November, 1997 he decided to travel to the county for a family wedding and was reportedly detained in upon the orders of late Bong County police commander Ernest Bee.

Late in the evening, reports have it that Gen. Yeaten arrived in Gbarnga and took away the late Dokie and other family affiliates who were incarcerated along with him and carried them somewhere around Kpolokpalai, a scene of massacre in 1994 by the defunct Liberia Peace Council of Grand Gedeh County Representative George E. Sengbe Boley.

The next day, their charred bodies were discovered burned in Dokie’s own vehicle on the Kokoyah highway to the complete amazement of many. Since then (1997) no one has been prosecuted for these deaths. Few guys including one only identified as Ha were apprehended and according to government at the time, the main culprits were still on the run and this is how the entire case died down.

During the regime of NPRAG rebel administration in Gbarnga in the early 1990’s, Mr. Samuel Dokie served as minister of the interior and he along with others like late prof. Joe W. Mulbah, Tom Woeyiwue, Zaryee Dehkee were sent to represent the NPFL in the transitional government of Prof. David Kpomakpor.

The late Dokie and other top NPFL leaders like Tom Woeyiwu announced in 1994 in Monrovia that they of the Central Revolutionary Council (CRC), a faction of the same NPFL has removed Mr. Charles Taylor as leader.

The CRC then formed an alliance with some other warring groups calling themselves the Coalition Forces and launched a fierce attack on Taylor’s stronghold of Gbarnga on September 8, 1994 which resulted in the deaths of many people.

When Mr. Taylor won the election in 1997, it was suspected that because of Dokie’s role in the fall of Gbarnga, there was still friction between the two. So, when he was killed along with family members by Gen. Yeaten in Bong County, people presumed that it was an apparent retaliation for taking part in the capture of central provincial town of Gbarnga.

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