Liberia: Moving Up in the Ranks

Samuel Doe consolidates his power—sometimes bloodily

Stung by worldwide condemnation of the seaside executions in April 1980 that followed his ouster of President William R. Tolbert, Liberia's new head of state, Master Sergeant Samuel K. Doe, promised a quick return to civilian rule and a halt to the killings. Seventeen months later, Doe, 30, remains in power—and the killing has resumed. In June, 13 soldiers were executed after confessing to a plot to overthrow Doe and his People's Redemption Council (P.R.C.). Last month five members of the P.R.C. itself, including Doe's deputy, Thomas Weh Syen, were shot after a...

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