Edna Fernandes - writer and Journalist on India

War and Peace: the confessions of General Butt Naked

During Liberia’s civil war, General Butt Naked won notoriety as one of Africa’s most brutal warlords. Claiming responsibility for 20,000 deaths, a self-confessed sacrificer of children and a cannibal, he underwent a transformation in 1996 when he claimed he had an “epiphany” on the battlefield which changed his life forever. Today he is an evangelical preacher. In this interview with me, he openly discusses his past war crimes and says he is willing to go to The Hague to be tried. As he seeks redemption, his story provokes the question: are some sins too great to be atoned for? It is a question he asks himself.

Read his story here. I would welcome your comments on ednamailbox@gmail.com

5 Comments

  1. Roy Bishop
    Posted December 8, 2010 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    I returned from Sierra Leone last Thursday after a two week stay during which time I delivered a course to help Christians working with children who have been traumatised or abused. Much of the course is relevant to those working with adults too.My wife had saved your article for me and I read it with great interest as I have been going to SL since 2002. I am aware of some of the atrocities and the influence of witchdoctors. As an evangelical Christian I was thrilled to read of Butt Naked’s conversion. From what I read it seems to be genuine. One of my friends in SL had both hands amputated by the rebels as the trouble in Liberia spilled over into SL. Thank you for your time and effort in bringing this story into the open, and for your bravery too.

  2. Posted January 3, 2011 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    I read your interview with general Butt Naked. It was quite interesting and revealing. I am a Liberian born but now a US citizen living in the state of Tennessee. I had left Liberia when general Butt Naked went on the killing spree. One of the stories I heard about his involvement in the war which he didn’t reflect during the interview with him was that he got involved when it became almost possible that the Krahns, his nativemen were about to be eliminated by the rebel forces in Monrovia. I was in Ghana by then and many that cross over to Ghana some his loyalists thought of him as a hero for them. I had to escape the war immediately when Samuel Doe was assasinated in September. I enjoyed your story, my personal experience in the war will hopefully be out by the end of this year.

  3. Caterina
    Posted January 7, 2011 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Dear Edna,

    First of all, I have to say I extremely liked your article. It shows a very good balance between factual and historical explanations, curiosity, involvement and a hint of skepticism, without either presenting any type of judgement, no matter the very personal vein with which it’s written, or boring us with a bottom-line moral. This is how I would like my written work to look like, and I’ll keep the article as a source of inspiration -at least while I finish going through your other works.

    My name is Caterina and I am a 3rd year student at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. That might also explain why I liked your article so much: it gave me an interesting and unusual insight on Liberia, which I have come across and studied numerous times in my Development Studies and Politics BA -although you don’t generally read about General Butt Naked in academic literature.

    I know this is all really weird but, eventually, I am just writing to you to say that I really like what you write, that I am actually really happy I bumped into a random person who made me find out about your work (although your name already rang a bell, thanks to “holy warriors”), and that if you by any chance had any not-so-time-demanding-for-you suggestions to give to a 21year old expatriate who is desperately looking for a way to approach this so-called world of journalism, it’s useless to say I’d be grateful.

    Wish you all the best, starting from a happy new year.

    Caterina

  4. Posted January 27, 2011 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Dear Zon,

    thank you for your feedback and I appreciate the interview would not cover the aspect you mentioned in detail. Let me know when your own account comes out as I’d be keen to read it.

    best wishes
    Edna

  5. Posted September 10, 2014 at 3:09 am | Permalink

    Caterina,
    Just going through old emails and saw this. Hopelessly late I know, but did I ever reply to this? If not, would you still like me to get back on the points you raised. I hope you’ve had a chance to pursue the type of work you wish to do. More than happy to discuss. Try the direct email ednamailbox@gmail.com

    best wishes

    Edna

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