Joshua Milton Blahyi

Born in 1971, as the son of a priest from the Krahn tribe in Eastern Liberia, at the age of 10 Joshua became the first high priest of the Krahn for over 60 years. As the spiritual leader of his people he was expected to oversee their well being and make offerings to their deity.

 

During the civil war, at the age of 15, he became spiritual adviser to the president Samuel Doe. After Doe's death he remained as the spiritual leader of the Krahn tribe, however in 1995 he was forced into the role of warrior instead of priest to protect what was left of his people trapped in Monrovia. It was during this time he began to actively recruit child soldiers and at the height of the viciousness of the war in 1996 he was sacrificing up to five victims a day and eating their hearts and drinking their blood in deistic rituals.

During the latter stages of 1996, during a battle he had an epiphany and slowly began the conversion to Christianity. Liberia's civil conflict finally came to an end in 2004.

Joshua testified in front of the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2008, and he will be indicted for war crimes in June 2009. At this point he will stand trial for his part in the conflict.

 

Today, Joshua is trying to rehabilitate the most extreme child soldiers and dangerous ex-combants. His own experiences and brutal past allows him to communicate with those normally shunned by society and he can reach the most violent who believe themselves beyond redemption.

 

Joshua's Story
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