Wednesday, December 11, 2019, was overly terrifying and traumatic as State Security along with pro-regime operatives and thugs mainly from Sabu Unit and Zebra Unit devised a brutish conspiracy to arbitrarily arrest me and inflate severe wounds on my person as a result of my critical stance against President George M. Weah and his intolerant Government. Being unapologetically critical against cronyism, institutionalized thievery, and bad governance has been and remains my only crime or charge.
The wave of vicious attacks, especially on my graduation day, was not only pre-planned and aforethought by hired plotters, most of whom are protégés of Weah and diehard loyalists of CDC, but those egregious attacks were mainly intended to fiercely capture and kill me. God saved my life from such malicious design. The scars of such horrifying memory still remain fresh and psychologically injurious even as I have mustered the courage to briefly narrate my ordeal through these few lines.
While thousands of my comrades were jubilantly celebrating their academic feats on SKD Sports Stadium during UL’s Centennial Commencement Convocation on December 11, 2019, I was being viciously pursued by State Security for a charge yet unknown. All through my graduation, I along with some graduating stalwarts and militants of SUP were chased, chastised, and coerced by partisan officers of NSA, DEA, and Monrovia City Police. The Liberia National Police in collaboration with thugs from Sabu Unit and Zebra Unit severely brutalized, arrested, and jailed dozens of militants from our Party (The Student Unification Party).
This strategy was intended to make us vulnerable and lonesome. The SKD Sports Stadium became a zone of terror for me, my family, friends, loved ones, and militants of SUP as pro-regime renegades, armed with guns and machetes, strategically positioned themselves and flooded almost every entrance to ensure we were entrapped into CDC’s dragnet. As UL’s Centennial Commencement Convocation unfolded, I began receiving messages and calls to be cautious and very vigilant as mounting security threats and visible dangers against my life became more evident. Momentarily, I panicked but later overcame my fear as a trained cadre of SUP!
Far before this government-sponsored plot, I was advised to fully prepare myself. So, I didn’t only depend on SUP militants to guarantee my security and safety but I also hired private security guards since Friday, December 6, 2019 up my graduation day on December 11, 2019. My escape from SKD was made possible through chairman emeritus Butu Levi’s ingenuity. I was hurriedly escorted through Gate 8 by my security guards while benediction was about to be offered. I could not even receive my diploma cover, honor certificate (Cum Laude), and other graduation paraphernalia due to rising tension and dangers. We walked from SKD to Boulevard Junction as a result of traffic jam.
When those petit bandits and thuggish elements loyal to Weah’s hegemony could no longer locate us on SKD Sports Stadium, they began pursuing us en masse (NSA, Sabu Unit, and Zebra Unit). While en route to my parents’ residence around 72nd Community, we were violently attacked in the presence of my parents with guns, cutlasses, and knives. The CDC District #14 Youth Chairman, Melvin D. Brown, was seen leading a segment of those thugs. Some of our militants and security guards, including my driver, were severely beaten and injured. Cde. Francis M. Boayue and Cde. Jallah A. Barbu were direct victims of this spiteful attack.
Properties were destroyed while valuables were stolen. My mobile phones and cash (US$200), in possession of Cde. Boayue, were forcibly snatched away by those pro-poor bandits and ex-combatants from Zebra Unit and Sabu Unit. For almost 30 minutes, my security guards had to risk their lives to guarantee our safety and subsequent escape. It was indeed a terrifying scene as we (Martin K. N. Kollie, Butu Levi, Jeremiah Testimony Barclay, et al) ran into hiding in a local Restaurant around Boulevard Junction.
All I could hear from one of those armed thugs “We must carry Martin Kollie. He is against our President and our government. We have finally got him. He has to go. Martin must go. Since he is calling for Weah to step down, we will teach him lesson. We will not rest until we get him out and see his blood…”
As people came around to calm the tension, those thugs insisted that they must take me to President George Weah. When they temporarily left to regroup and return, a vehicle was quickly arranged to secure my exit. I had to change my graduation suit before even escaping. Even while escaping, they followed me. All through my graduation day, I had no peace of mind. For almost 2 days, I had to seek refuge in a safe haven. On Saturday, December 14, 2019, my family planned to have a small ‘graduation party’ for me, they (plotters/attackers) again took 3 pick-ups loaded with thugs on Saturday’s morning to disrupt said occasion as was confirmed by my parents. Consequently, such program scheduled to begin at 2:00pm on Saturday was immediately cancelled.
This is the extent at which I am being viciously targeted, intimated, chastised, and repressed by Weah’s hegemony. These coordinated and prearranged hostilities against my person have become even more habitual especially in public spaces. On Thursday, November 28, 2019, similar attack was launched against me and militants of SUP by Sabu Unit and Zebra Unit while we were attending the inauguration of the 15th President of the University of Liberia, Dr. Julius Sarwolo Nelson, on Fendall Campus. The UL Police had to rescue me in one of their vehicles. Again, CDC District #14 Youth Chairman, Melvin D. Brown, was seen giving instructions to those thugs on Fendall Campus.
Far before, during, and after my graduation, my life has been endangered. I have endured and continue to endure ceaseless risks and threats mainly because of my consistent advocacy and unapologetic stance against past and current regimes. Most of you are not aware, but I have been out of my house on 12th Street for almost 7 months now due to rising insecurity. A few residents of 12th Street Community advised me to leave because NSA officers and renegades of CDC were regularly pursuing me after June 7, 2019 Protest. As Weah and his government drown in doom and gloom, I thought to temporarily flee Liberia into safety. It has been almost a week out of my homeland, Liberia. Though not by choice, but this flight is compelling.
It is really tough for me but I was scrupulously advised to have left Liberia amidst increasing attacks on my person and the alarming wave of mysterious deaths. The action of those marauding pro-poor predators has forced me into exile. The Weah-led government is chasing critical voices into exile in order to subjugate and suppress our people even more. This is a dangerous sign and I hope those in power could learn from history. The new ruling class is not only corrupt and clueless, but it continues to abhor dissent and muzzle critical voices. The nation is gravitating towards dictatorship and fascism, if it hasn’t already. These are sad and troubling times as uncertainties loom. The Republic is BLEEDING as Liberia’s economy and democratic credential ruin in tatters. Even while away, we shall internally and externally mobilize solidarity forces and build genuine alliances to rescue our country from such prevailing nightmare and national miasma under this clueless athlete and newborn dictator.
While out of Liberia, I am compelled to endure these difficult times because I have refused to accept SILENCE as an option while the poor majority of our Republic remains hopeless in a country endowed with abundant resources. I have rejected offers to live a better life while our people suffer. I have refused to patronize a camarilla of pro-poor thieves and micro-crooks. I have stood up for 13 years now and will continue to stand by THE TRUTH. I will forever remain forthright in defending those cherished values of our emerging democracy.
I will release a detailed account of my ordeal in a few days through my pen and via Facebook Live. Thanks to all of you for your support and solidarity. Special thanks to my family, friends, loved ones, and comrades in arms. I wish to appreciate THE MEDIA as well. I remain forever grateful to our indomitable SUP. Comrades, we have no choice but to fearlessly soldier on. “Salvum volumus Liberia copulent” meaning in English from Latin “We must unite to save Liberia”.
This national urgency or imperative, which lies with us, hasn’t been felt with such deep sense of patriotism and nationalism. The Weah-led government is operating on borrowed time. Elements within its ranks are on crutches. Weah and his men are actually on life-support. I have chosen not to be a prey of those predators. Enough of this abuse of power! Either we struggle in unity or perish in cowardice. Unshaken and resilient with oneness of purpose and destiny, CHANGE is inevitable – a new Liberia of social justice and economic freedom is in sight.
Gratiam et pacem – Grateful with Peace!
Signed and sealed:
Martin K. N. Kollie
Former student leader and standard-bearer emeritus of SUP