General Butt Naked

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Joshua Milton Blahyi
Personal details
Born (1971-09-30) 30 September 1971 (age 50)
Monrovia, Liberia
Political partyULIMO
Military service
RankBrigadier general
CommandsButt Naked Brigade
Battles/warsFirst Liberian Civil War

Joshua Milton Blahyi (born September 30, 1971), better known by his nom de guerre General Butt Naked, is a former commander of forces under the wider control of Liberian warlord Roosevelt Johnson.[1] Blahyi was known for his violence and atrocities during the First Liberian Civil War in the early 1990s. Once described as "the most evil man in the world", Blahyi said in 2008 that he killed at least 20,000 people and carried out regular human sacrifice and cannibalism of children.[2][3]

Blahyi has stated that he was originally a tribal priest. Since the war he has converted to Christianity and become a preacher. In the 2011 documentary, his wife, Josie; son, Joshua Jr.; and two daughters, Michaela and Janice, were interviewed on the life of the warlord turned preacher.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Blahyi was born into the Sarpo tribe in Liberia.[5] The Krahn elders appointed him, at age eleven, as high priest, a position that would lead him to become the spiritual advisor to Liberian President Samuel Doe.[6][7][8] Blahyi adhered to a complex traditional belief system as a Krahn priest. Blahyi himself said, "I was a high priest for the biggest god under the Krahn tribe, and the late Samuel K. Doe, being a fellow tribesman, was automatically placed under my jurisdiction . . . I also placed Nyanbe-a-weh amongst the first three high-ranking gods in West Africa’s black-witch coastal line division."[9]

Nyanbe-a-weh was Blahyi's idol who—according to him—demanded ritual sacrifice; Blahyi would come to believe that Nyanbe-a-weh was the Devil.[10] He said that the Krahn tribe selects leaders based upon physical prowess rather than birthright. The selection process takes place through an annual fight:

The traditional fight was a no-holds-barred affair. The eventual victor was allowed to kill and maim to show his strength and bravery. The strongest or last man standing after the bloody contest will take over the birthright and the headship of the tribe."[11]

In battle[edit]

Blahyi has said he led his troops naked except for sneakers and armed with a gun or machete.[12] He believed that his nakedness was a source of protection from bullets.[13] Blahyi stated he would regularly sacrifice a victim before every battle.[14] "Usually it was a small child, someone whose fresh blood would satisfy the devil."[1] He stated to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Sometimes I would enter under the water where children were playing. I would dive under the water, grab one, carry him under and break his neck. Sometimes I'd cause accidents. Sometimes I'd just slaughter them.[15]

In January 2008, Blahyi confessed to taking part in human sacrifices which "included the killing of an innocent child and taking out the heart, which was divided into pieces for us to eat."[16]

Blahyi claimed to a South African Star reporter that he "met Satan regularly and talked to him" and that from age of 11 to 25 he took part in monthly human sacrifices.[17] Describing a typical battle, Blahyi said:

So, before leading my troops into battle, we would get drunk and drugged up, sacrifice a local teenager, drink the blood, then strip down to our shoes and go into battle wearing colorful wigs and carrying imaginary purses we'd looted from civilians. We'd slaughter anyone we saw, chop their heads off and use them as soccer balls. We were nude, fearless, drunk yet strategic. We killed hundreds of people—so many I lost count."[18]

Blahyi also purported that during this period he had "magical powers that made him invisible" and a "special power" to capture a town singlehandedly, then call in his troops afterwards to "clean up".[19] Some of Blahyi's soldiers—often boys in their early teens and younger—would enter battle naked; others would wear women's clothes.[1] In June 2006, Blahyi published his autobiography that included pictures of him fighting with a rifle, wearing nothing but sneakers.[20]

During the First Liberian Civil War he led a mercenary unit, many of whom were child soldiers, which was known as the Butt Naked Brigade. His troop fought on behalf of the Liberia Peace Council.[21] They were funded by Roosevelt Johnson and fought alongside the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO) militia against militias led by Charles Taylor and Prince Yormie Johnson. ULIMO was loyal to Samuel Doe, who was captured and executed personally by Prince Johnson. Taylor eventually took control of the country.[22]


Blahyi's rampage ended in 1996, when the civil war in Liberia was coming to an end.[23] He states his conversion was bolstered by a church in Liberia where Bishop Kun Kun is a pastor. They claimed to have heard from God to fast 54 days for his deliverance. After the fast, they claim God gave them spiritual powers to infiltrate his coven in Monrovia and preach to him. Shortly after, Blahyi claims, he experienced a theophany in which Jesus Christ appeared to him as a blinding light, spoke to him as a son, and told him that he would die unless he repented his sins.[24]

In 1997, Blahyi traveled to the Buduburam refugee camp in Ghana. It was at the camp, he recounts, that he made confession for his sins at a church and "had his life saved".[25] Subsequently, when he preaches, he says he sometimes encounters relatives of his victims.[12][14] "I feel very bad, so bad", he said, but stated in a 1997 interview that satanic powers had possessed him in the past and he cannot be held responsible.[15] However, in more recent interviews Blahyi has taken full responsibility and supported the establishment of a war crimes court to hold Liberian warlords, including himself, accountable for their atrocities.[26][27] In January 2008, Blahyi returned to Liberia from Ghana and testified before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia that he and his men were responsible for the deaths of more than 20,000 people between approximately 1980 and 1996.[2][12][28][29] In June 2021, he claimed he would voluntarily turn himself over to a war crimes court even if it meant imprisonment, describing the remorse he feels in his daily life and the "personal freedom" of atonement.[30][31]

Blahyi is the President of the End Time Train Evangelistic Ministries Inc., with headquarters in Liberia. He is married to Pastor Mrs. Josie and has four children: Jackie MaryBeth, Janice, Joshua Milton Jr., and Michaela.[7] In 2013 Blahyi published an autobiography, titled The Redemption of an African Warlord: The Joshua Blahyi Story, A Modern Day Conversion from Saul to Paul, which focused on his transition from tribal priest to warlord to his conversion to Christianity.[6]

In October 2016, Blahyi appealed to donors to donate half a million dollars to his Journeys Against Violence NGO which trains child soldiers and drug addicts in farming and construction.[32][33]

In popular culture[edit]

  • In 2004, Liberian-American director Gerald Barclay traveled to Buduburam to shoot a documentary which included interviews with Blahyi.[34]
  • Blahyi's current life as an evangelist was a significant focus of Vice magazine's 2010 documentary The Vice Guide to Liberia.[35]
  • Blahyi was the subject of a 2011 documentary which won the cinematography award at the Sundance Film festival, titled The Redemption of General Butt Naked.[36][37]
  • In their musical The Book of Mormon, Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone renamed a character to "General Butt Fucking Naked," after General Butt Naked, following rewrites when they felt that General Kony, on whom the character is based, became too controversial following Kony 2012.[38][39] In footage from early previews of the production, characters can still be heard referring to the character as "Warlord Kony".[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c Jim Klima. "Going Mental". It Will Be So Awful, It Will Be Wonderful. Archived from the original on October 29, 2005. Retrieved January 15, 2007. Photograph.
  2. ^ a b "Ex-warlord confesses to 20,000 deaths". CNN. January 21, 2008. Archived from the original on January 29, 2008.
  3. ^ Tabor, Damon (March 26, 2016). "The Greater the Sinner". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on January 19, 2019. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  4. ^ The Redemption of General Butt Naked (2011) - IMDb, retrieved April 26, 2021
  5. ^ Blahyi 2006, p. 1
  6. ^ a b Blahyi, Joshua (2013). The Redemption of an African Warlord: The Joshua Blahyi Story: A Modern Day Conversion from Saul to Paul. Destiny Image Publeshers, Incorporated. ISBN 978-0-7684-4207-6.
  7. ^ a b Blahyi 2006, p. About the Author
  8. ^ Tabor, Damon (March 6, 2016). "General Butt Naked, the Repentant Warlord". The New Yorker. Retrieved April 7, 2021.
  9. ^ Blahyi 2006, p. 68
  10. ^ Blahyi 2006, p. 45
  11. ^ Blahyi 2006, p. 4
  12. ^ a b c Stock, Jonathan (November 2, 2013). "The Penitent Warlord: Atoning for 20,000 War Crimes". ABC News. Retrieved April 7, 2021.
  13. ^ Gains, Paul (August 17, 2003). "Where angels will not tread". Sunday Herald. Archived from the original on May 28, 2005.
  14. ^ a b Capper, Andy (February 8, 2012). "A Message of Peace from (Ex-)General Butt Naked". Retrieved April 7, 2021.
  15. ^ a b Susman, Tina (August 4, 1997). "Liberia's Fierce Butt Naked General Now Preaches Peace". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
  16. ^ Paye-Layleh, Jonathan (January 22, 2008). "I ate children's hearts, ex-rebel says". Archived from the original on February 21, 2010. Retrieved January 22, 2008.
  17. ^ Ellis 2007, p. 268
  18. ^ Brecher, Gary (June 12, 2003). "Please Don't Eat the Pygmies". Archived from the original on December 30, 2005. Retrieved January 24, 2006.
  19. ^ "Repentant Liberian warlord delivers himself for judgment". Agence France Presse -- English. January 16, 2008.
  20. ^ Blahyi 2006
  21. ^ Ellis, Stephen (March 2001). The Mask of Anarchy: The Destruction of Liberia and the Religious Dimension of an African Civil War. NYU Press. ISBN 978-0-8147-2219-0.
  22. ^ Onishi, Norimitsu (7 December 2000). "In Ruined Liberia, Its Despoiler Sits Pretty". The New York Times, Retrieved February 17, 2021.
  23. ^ Means, Sean P. (January 24, 2011). "'Gen. Butt Naked' found faith after war". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved April 7, 2021.
  24. ^ Tabor, Damon (6 March 2016). "The Greater the Sinner: A Liberian warlord’s unlikely path to forgiveness.". The New Yorker, Retrieved May 9, 2021.
  25. ^ Blahyi 2006, p. 121
  26. ^ "The Redemption of General Butt Naked". Archived from the original on July 10, 2016. Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  27. ^ Johnson, Obediah. ""Liberia: Ex-warlord "General Butt Naked" Wants Sen. Prince Johnson, Others, Tell Their Stories at War Crimes Court"". Front Page Africa. Archived from the original on June 3, 2021. Retrieved October 31, 2021.
  28. ^ Bradshaw, Steve (August 26, 2008). "Warlord's quest for forgiveness". Retrieved April 7, 2021.
  29. ^ Lansana, Gberie (August 6, 2015). War, Politics and Justice in West Africa: Essays 2003 - 2014. Sierra Leonean Writers Series. ISBN 978-99910-921-8-8.
  30. ^ Ball, Sam. ""General Butt Naked: The notorious Liberian warlord now helping ex-child soldiers"". France 24. Archived from the original on July 1, 2021. Retrieved October 31, 2021.
  31. ^ Johnson, Obediah. ""Liberia: Ex-warlord "General Butt Naked" Wants Sen. Prince Johnson, Others, Tell Their Stories at War Crimes Court"". Front Page Africa. Archived from the original on June 3, 2021. Retrieved October 31, 2021.
  32. ^ "General Butt Naked's humanitarian rebirth tests Liberia's forgiveness". Reuters. October 26, 2016. Archived from the original on October 26, 2016. Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  33. ^ Szoldra, Paul (October 26, 2016). "Notorious Liberian warlord 'General Buttnaked' wants money to rehabilitate the child soldiers he once trained". Business Insider. Retrieved April 7, 2021.
  34. ^ "Liberia: The Love of Liberty Brought us Here (2004)". Archived from the original on February 9, 2017. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  35. ^ "The VICE Guide to Liberia | The VICE Guide to Travel". VICE. Archived from the original on August 28, 2014. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
  36. ^ "The Redemption of General Butt Naked (2011)". IMDb. January 2011.
  37. ^ "The Redemption of General Butt Naked". Archived from the original on July 10, 2016. Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  38. ^ "'South Park's Trey Parker and Matt Stone talk 'Book of Mormon'". Uproxx. September 10, 2012. Archived from the original on January 9, 2019. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  39. ^ Cavendish, Dominic (March 28, 2021). "The £1bn shocker: 10 years on, is The Book of Mormon too offensive to stage?". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved April 7, 2021.


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