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Editor receives death threat

(CEMESP/IFEX) - Editor-in-chief of the daily and online newspaper "FrontPage Africa", Rodney Sieh, is alarmed over plans to "eliminate" him.

Sieh said that at about 3:30 P.M. on 12 July 2011, a senior Liberian government official notified a staffer at "FrontPage Africa" that former minister of state for presidential affairs Willis Knuckles had put a hit on his life and wanted him dead.

The "FrontPage Africa" editor was preparing for the Wednesday 13 July edition of the newspaper when the staffer entered his office and notified him of the phone call and the threat on his life.

In February 2007, Mr. Knuckles resigned from his post as minister of state for presidential affairs, after he was involved in a sex scandal and after photographs distributed in Monrovia and on the internet showed the minister engaging in a sex act with two women.

At the time of his resignation, Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, described Knuckles as a "friend and close associate for many years".

About a year later, following his departure from government, Knuckles resurfaced, this time in a chain of emails obtained by "FrontPage Africa" which showed that the minister was involved in behind-the-scenes deals with investors, using his close relationship with the President as a means to get paybacks and "success fees".

A "FrontPage Africa investigative story recently revealed how Knuckles has once again resurfaced in the government circle as a key operative in the ruling Unity party's quest to stay in power.

Sieh further stated that "FrontPage Africa" has never chosen a battle with Mr. Knuckles: "we only happened to have stumbled on a misstep, several ones at that. In the process, the perception has been created by Mr. Knuckles and his sympathisers that we have an axe to grind with him or that we are on a vendetta spree to bring more embarrassment to Mr. Knuckles. We assure you, our readers, that Mr. Knuckles and his supporters are off the mark. The facts are in the details of our reports about Mr. Knuckles' misdeeds."

In the wake of the alleged threats verified by very credible sources and informants, "FrontPage Africa" has taken immediate and precautionary steps to protect itself and its publisher. The United Nations Mission in Liberia, the Liberian National Police and the Justice Ministry have all been notified about the threat from Mr. Knuckles.

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