Some have forgiven and befriended those who harmed them in the name of peace and reconciliation, but others have vowed never to flip the new page.
During the war, many innocent persons were killed because they were either directly or indirectly associated with key factions or major tribes the war centered on.
This forced many people to flee the country, and the relatives of this class of people still do not know their whereabouts.
Some have come back home to join the rebuilding process, but thousands of others may never return because the ground is still unsafe for them.
This is why the wife of one Weigu Howard of Lofa County, who is said to have lectured at the University of Liberia, is praying that her husband does not come back in the current decade.
Kebbeh Howard said she believes that her husband is safe and sound in the United States, and she wants him to remain there for as long as he can because “this place is not still safe for him.”
Kebbeh, recently in an interview with this paper in the commercial enclave of Redlight, said people believed to be former fighters are still looking for her husband to eliminate him because of the role his mother played in the war.
This paper was soliciting the views of single women on how they were making life in postwar Liberia in the face of skyrocketing prices and harsh economic challenges.
The backdrop of the survey was in line with the recent labor force survey released by the Ministry of Labor that states that women make up 72% (as compared to Male's 37%) of the country's informal employment and that they account for 57.5% of vulnerable employment while their male counterpart account for 68.3%.
Kebbeh, like many of her colleagues, is one of those women in the category of vulnerable employment and has to sell on a daily basis just to survive, because her husband has been fleeing for his life since the war ended.
“I understand the situation, so I can't blame him. I don't even know his status over there, but with God above, I believe one day he can overcome his challenges and extend a helping hand to us here.”
She noted that Howard left Liberia in 2007 to seek refuge in the United States after he was being hunted by some elements of former fighters on ground that his mother (who was killed by rebels) made charms (against enemy forces) for government soldiers in their native Lofa County. “They killed his mother and they vowed that they will kill all of those who are connected to her, especially her children—and they are still looking for him.”
“Some of them have come here in different forms and manners, trying to know where he is,” she continued. “Neighbors have heard them making sarcastic wartime remarks such as “his wife will wear black when we lay hands on him”, “he will follow his mother to 'daybody' city”, “we will 'deebeedie' him,” among others. They come and tell us and advise me to tell him to remain where he is.”
Howard's relatives are said to be in different locations in Monrovia including in Bardnersville, Paynesville, where his wife lives, and Central Monrovia where his daughters resides and sells in the clustered Rally Time Market.
When this paper visited the community where Howard once lived, residents confirmed that unknown individuals may be pursuing him for a sin he did not commit.
“If I where he, I would not come back, because you can't take things for granted here,” Paul Kolubah noted. “I can't understand why they should target him after they reportedly killed his mother. It's too ambiguous, but we hear them making all kinds of remarks about him here.
The issue of reconciliation in Liberia is still an uphill challenge after the brutal tribal-driven war ended in August 2003.
Two democratic elections—the first back-to-back—in more than four decades have taken place, but reconciliation and national healing is still a superficial.
A truth and Reconciliation Commission report and recommendation, which barred key players of the war from public office for 30 years, prosecution of key financiers and pardoning of another group of players of the war, has never taken effect.
Meanwhile, Mr. Howard's wife and family will have to live for years without seeing and talking with him as one of his sons was killed last year in Paynesville, according to his wife.