1980 Liberian coup d'état

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1980 Liberian coup d'état
Location Liberia AU Africa.svg
Date12 April 1980
LocationLiberia
Result

Coup attempt succeeds.

  • William Tolbert is overthrown and murdered.
  • Many cabinet members of the Tolbert administration are executed on 22 April 1980.
Belligerents
Flag of Liberia.svg Government of Liberia Armed Forces of Liberia faction
Commanders and leaders
William Tolbert Samuel Doe

The 1980 Liberian coup d'état happened on April 12, 1980, when President William Tolbert was overthrown and murdered in a violent coup. The coup was staged by an indigenous Liberian faction of the Armed Forces of Liberia under the command of Master Sergeant Samuel Doe. Following a period of transition Doe would go on to rule the country throughout the 1980s until his murder on 9 September 1990 during the First Liberian Civil War.

Events[edit]

Doe (center) holding a walkie-talkie, alongside the other conspirators during the 1980 coup.

In the early hours of April 12, 1980, 17 non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia led by Master Sergeant Samuel Doe launched a violent coup d'état. All of the conspirators were indigenous Liberians, while Tolbert was a member of Americo-Liberian community (which had ruled Liberia since independence in 1847). The group entered the Executive Mansion (presidential palace) and killed Tolbert, whose body was dumped into a mass grave together with 27 other victims of the coup. It is reported that Harrison Pennoh was the person that killed Tolbert. Later, a crowd of angry Liberians gathered to shout insults and throw rocks at the bodies.[when?][1]

Aftermath[edit]

By the end of April, most of the cabinet members of the Tolbert administration had been put on trial in a kangaroo court and sentenced to death. Many of them were publicly executed on 22 April at a beach near the Barclay Training Center in Monrovia. Only four members of the Tolbert administration survived the coup and its aftermath; among them was the Minister of Finance, future President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf,[2] and the Vice President Bennie Dee Warner.[3]

Following the coup, Doe assumed the rank of General and established the People's Redemption Council (PRC), composed of himself and 14 other low-ranking officers, to rule the country. The PRC was dissolved after the 1985 general election, in which Doe was elected President; he was sworn in on 6 February 1986. Doe continued to rule the country until he was murdered on 9 September 1990 by the INPFC, led by Prince Johnson, during the First Liberian Civil War.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "LIBERIA: After the Takeover, Revenge". TIME Magazine. 1980-04-18. Archived from the original on September 28, 2008. 
  2. ^ Johnson Sirleaf, E: This Child Will Be Great, p. 103. HarperCollins, 2009.
  3. ^ "Tolbert's Aide in U.S." (PDF). The New York Times. April 13, 1980. Retrieved October 21, 2011.