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Senator threatens lives of newspaper staff

(CEMESP/IFEX) - The staff of "The National Chronicle" newspaper in Liberia have complained of threats on their lives by Nimba County Senator Prince Johnson. Johnson, the former leader of rebel faction the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia, who is now the leader of the Proposed National Union for Democratic (NUD) Progress Party, issued the threat on July 5, 2010 for what he described as malicious reporting against his proposed party by the newspaper.

The threat was issued in Johnson's offices, where a reporter of "The National Chronicle" had gone to get his side of a story linking his political party to a fraudulent party listing. "You guys know me, I will deal with you as I did to others during the rebel days," were the words of the former rebel leader as quoted by the reporter.

The newspaper had reported a story in which a citizen of Rivercess county, Sims Ganton, challenged a list of the party members. Ganton claimed that at no time did the proposed NUD Party visit his county. He described the party listing submitted to the National Elections Commission as fraudulent.

Senator Johnson was quoted as saying that he does not take publications against him or his party lightly.

The management of "The National Chronicle" newspaper told CEMESP that it takes seriously Senator Johnson's threat to harm its staff. The newspaper said it has informed the Ministry of Justice and the Press Union of Liberia about the threat.

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