General Butt Naked’s new life as a priest

General Butt Naked's new life as a priest

HIS real name is Joshua Milton Blahyi. But this Liberian mass murderer became famous using the name "General Butt Naked".

Don’t laugh, because there is nothing funny about this man’s past. Blahyi is a uniquely monstrous war criminal. By his own admission, General Butt Naked was responsible for the deaths of “no fewer” than 20000 people during the First Liberian Civil War in the early 1990s. And they weren’t clean deaths.

Blahyi was a cannibal who practised human sacrifice on infants to earn himself protection during battle. He recruited child soldiers, made them hack other people to pieces and ate the live hearts of his enemies. Spiegel Online
reports his soldiers used to bet on whether a pregnant woman was carrying a boy or a girl before slitting open her belly to see who was right.

Blahyi earned that falsely comical nickname, General Butt Naked, for his favoured practice of running into battle wearing sneakers and nothing else. He thought it made him invincible.

Now Blahyi is a priest who believes he’ll go to heaven. He has never been punished for his crimes, because the International Criminal Court was founded in 2002 and has no jurisdiction over atrocities that occurred before then.

He has spent years visiting the victims of his former life, begging for “complete forgiveness”. Nineteen people have granted his wish so far. Blahyi has also built a mission for former child soldiers, who he feeds and clothes.

The strangest thing about this transition from monster to clergyman is that it appears to be completely genuine. Spiegel Online has explored Blahyi’s new life, and if any of it is fraudulent, no one can tell.

When he was called before Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2008 to explain his crimes, Blahyi was honest. He made no attempt to dodge blame in the manner of so many other war criminals. Why?

“For my faith. I was told that I should tell the truth, and the truth will set me free,” Blahyi told the commission. He has carried that attitude through to the present day.

“I believe that God wishes to use me as a sign. No matter how far a person goes, he has the potential to change,” Blahyi says.

He sees himself as a symbol of both incomprehensible evil and seemingly impossible redemption.

The full Spiegel Online article about Blahyi is worth a read. You can find it here.

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