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Liberia church massacre survivors sue alleged perpetrator in U.S. court

From Reuters - February 12, 2018

NEW YORK/MONROVIA (Reuters) - Four survivors of a church massacre that killed 600 people during the Liberian civil war on Monday filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. court against the man they accuse of having ordered the attack.

The lawsuit, brought in federal court in Philadelphia, accuses Moses Thomas of directing the mass killing on July 29, 1990, while a colonel in the Armed Forces of Liberia. Thomas came to the United States under an immigration program intended to help victims of the conflict and now lives in a Philadelphia suburb, according to the lawsuit.

Attempts to reach Thomas were unsuccessful late on Monday, but he told the BBC that the allegations were nonsense, according to a report on the broadcasters website.

The church killing was among the most brutal atrocities committed against civilians during 14 years of near-constant conflict, which saw child soldiers enlisted in the war before it ended in 2003.

Hundreds of families took refuge at St. Peters Lutheran Church, a Red Cross humanitarian shelter, in the countrys capital of Monrovia, seeking protection from the violence ravaging the city.

Thomas headed up the armys elite anti-terrorism unit, according to the lawsuit, and ordered approximately 45 soldiers to enter the church and open fire indiscriminately. Soldiers then used machetes to hack others to death, while some victims survived by hiding under the bodies of others.

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