Liberian President Says Coup Attempt Quashed Doe Says Government Forces Quashed Coup, Deploys
Jul. 14, 1988
Liberian President Says Coup Attempt Quashed Doe Says Government Forces Quashed Coup, Deploys Troops in North
MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) _ The government today deployed nearly 1,000 troops in northern Liberia, where President Samuel K. Doe said his forces quashed a coup attempt a day earlier by his former second-in-command.
Troops set up roadblocks and surrounded key cities in Nimba County where the alleged attempt occurred, according to travelers from the region. Nimba County is 350 miles north of Monrovia, the Liberian capital.
Doe announced the foiled coup before a joint emergency meeting of the National Legislature, which was broadcast nationwide by state radio Wednesday night. The president's office today issued a press release elaborating on Doe's announcement.
It said Doe's forces killed and captured an unspecified number of attackers and prevented 11 others from crossing the border.
Liberian Minister of Information Emmanuel Bower said the invasion was staged at Sanniquellie, 450 miles northeast of Monrovia along Liberia's eastern border with the Ivory Coast.
Doe, 36, said the invaders were led by J. Nicholas Podier Jr., described as the vice head-of-state of the former ruling People's Redemption Council.
The Joint Security Force investigating the invasion announced Podier was killed in the battle. It said his body would be shown on state television.
Doe said those captured were being brought to Monrovia for ''further investigation.'' He assured ''all Liberians and foreigners alike'' that his government was in ''complete control of the situation and there is no need to panic.''
Monrovia was calm today and work proceeded as usual, although a few soldiers were spotted in the city.
Podier was one of 17 enlisted men and non-commissioned officers led by then-Master Sgt. Doe who seized control of the West African nation in an April 12, 1980 coup. They stormed the executive mansion in Monrovia and assassinated President William R. Tolbert.
After the coup, Doe and his confederates set up the People's Redemption Council, which ruled by decree until 1985 elections returned Liberia to civilian rule with Doe as president.
Podier fell from power in 1984 after being accused of plotting against Doe. He exiled himself to the Ivory Coast in 1986.
A December 1985 coup attempt led by former People's Redemption Council member Brig. Gen. Thomas Quiqonkpa brought heavy fighting into the capital until it was crushed by government forces. Quiqonkpa claimed to have seized power and held the state-run Liberia Broadcasting System radio for several hours before being overpowered. He later was executed.
On March 22, police arrested 12 people connected with an alleged plot to assassinate Doe and overthrow his government. They have been charged with treason and are scheduled to go on trial in August.