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Newspaper editor allegedly the target of assassination plot

(CEMESP/IFEX) - Investigations are underway into claims that a bounty of US$1,000 was offered for the assassination of Sam O. Dean, managing editor of the "Independent" newspaper in Monrovia.

Police have arrested a former rebel general, Godfrey Beyan (alias "Spirit"), as he tried to pay off his accomplice Beyan Kamara (alias "Fifty") for what he thought was a "mission accomplished."

Dean told CEMESP on 30 January 2008 that the plot was uncovered when an individual informed him that a former rebel general had contracted another former combatant to eliminate him.

Dean said this information followed an earlier visit to the offices of the "Independent" by Godfrey Beyan under the pretense that he had come to negotiate for the purchase of advertising space.

According to Dean, he diverted a later call from Godfrey Beyan and instead delegated another staff to conclude the publication arrangements.

Dean said that at this time, he moved to a different apartment and called in the police, who promptly arrested the suspected would-be assassin. The other suspect in the plot was apprehended when he approached his accomplice's hideout, believing that the "mission was accomplished".

Dean said police apprehended Godfrey Beyan and placed him under custody for attempting to pay off the alleged assassination money to Beyan Kamara. Police sources indicated that Kamara admitted receiving an initial $20 payment toward the total of $175 for which he was subcontracted.

Dean made headlines early in 2007 when his newspaper published nude sexual photos involving Presidential Affairs Minister Willis Knuckles. Knuckles subsequently resigned, the "Independent" was shut down and Dean followed with claims that he was being hunted (see IFEX alerts of 4 June, 4 April, 28, 21 and 8 March 2007, and others).

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