Lagos - The family of the late president of Liberia, Samuel Doe, has met and publicly forgiven the warlord responsible for his brutal death 10 years ago.
Doe was savagely hacked to death by Prince Yomie Johnson and his troops on September 9 1990, when the country was deep in civil conflict. A video was made of the killing, and sold around the region.
The meeting took place this week at the Synagogue Church of All Nations, a controversial evangelical Lagos church to which the "reformed" warlord now belongs, the The Guardian newspaper reported.
On Monday Doe's widow, Nancy, and son, Kanyon, who now live in the United States, visited the church whose pastor, Temitope Joshua, claims miracle healing powers, the paper said.
Joshua's fame has drawn a series of high-profile believers to his highly profitable centre, ranging from the African footballer of the year, Nwankwo Kanu, and, Zambia's President Frederick Chiluba.
The Doe family was apparently unaware that Johnson, who led the Independent National Patriotic Front faction in the war and killed president Doe, was a regular member of the congregation.
The late president's son told the gathering: "Immediately I saw Johnson, the death of my father came to my mind and I wanted to dash to the quarters for a sharp object to stab him ... but something I cannot explain held me."
The way his father was killed was horrible, he said.
"Since that horrible incident, I have not been able to watch the video again but people continue to remind me of it," he said.
"He cut off my father's ear and several parts of his body and made a video of it... This really brought pain to us," he added.
Joshua intervened calling for reconciliation. "Let's forget about our past so that God can lead us into the future," he said.
The late president's son told the congregation the family accepted it: "This is the way God wants it. Jesus Christ forgave everybody. Who are we not to forgive and forget?" - Sapa-AFP