Religion & Media in Liberia's Civil War
Others, like seasoned television journalists Tommie Raynes and Moses Washington, all with the State Broadcaster, Liberia Broadcasting System, were killed by rebel fighters under mysterious circumstances when they tried to escape the country. Their bodies are yet to be found.
Another BBC reporter Nyenti Allison, who was escaping the fighting was held captive by rebels for days and reportedly mistreated. He was later released and is now in the United States.
Journalist Sebo Daniels of the Touch Light Newspaper, the nation’s first daily after the crisis in the early 90s, was held captive in Mr. Charles Taylor’s NPFL control area on suspicion that he was a spy. He was intimidated and it took the intervention of the leadership of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) before he was released.
The war displaced some many journalists and most of them have to survive under taxing conditions. Some have died from starvation and other from common diseases because the collapse of the media industry left them with nothing for livelihood. Others in the “Greater Liberia,” died from air raids launched by the regional peacekeeping force ECOMOG.
I was forced to stay away from my family for several weeks in central Monrovia because I could not cross a strategic bridge to go to the outskirts of the city, where I reside. The bridge was a tense battle ground for control of Monrovia, and no one who was not a fighter dared to cross that bridge. I had to stay in central Monrovia displaced by the fighting for months until the peacekeepers arrived and the bridge was finally declared opened. I had no clothes and had to survive with friends who were actual residents of Monrovia.
Despite of the significant progress made in Liberia to sustain the peace and bring the people together, the nation is still experiencing the pinches of the civil war.
For instance, deep division of intolerance for religion brought about by the war is still visible in most parts of country. A clear example of this occurred in February 2010, when Muslims and Christians based in northern Liberia clashed when some Christians reportedly attacked a Mosques after the remains of a teen age girl was discovered in the area.
It was alleged that the girl was killed by some Muslims for ritualistic purposes to open a new Mosque. The Christians aggravated over the girl’s death reportedly attacked the Mosque and an Imam. When the Muslims retaliated, it led to a Muslim and Christian clash. There was massive destruction in the area with the burning down of several worship places, residential and business centers.
One of the war's most persistent legacies is the high degree of suspicion and mistrust among Liberians.