I got a text from my bro. ‘turn on the TV asap and watch this documentary about liberian warlord. amazing.’ So I did.

General Butt Naked was a fierce and depraved warlord in the First Liberian Civil War. He was made a tribal priest and told by Satan that he would be a powerful warrior at the age of 11. He practiced human sacrifice and cannibalism and advised political leaders.

Real name Joshua Milton Blahyi, he became feared in Liberia for extreme brutality, and for leading his guerrilla troops into battle naked, wearing only boots and carrying machine guns, or wearing drag. Before battles, they would kill a child and eat parts of the victim’s body.

Fighting for Samuel Doe against Charles Taylor, he traded blood diamonds, used child soldiers and mashed cocaine into their food.

After sacrificing a calm girl, Blahyi says someone appeared to him in a blinding light. It was Jesus. He told him to repent and live or refuse and die. He stopped what he was doing. From that point on, his life was turned around.

Now, Blahyi is a follower of Jesus and is living a new life. He has a wife and three children. He has given up the power he had and could have had, putting himself at risk of revenge.

He appeared before Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to confess to being responsible for the deaths of over 20,000 people. He has said he’s willing to go to the Hague to be tried at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes.

He goes round saying sorry to the relatives of people he killed. Watching these scenes of humble apology, forgiveness and even reconciliation was very moving. I haven’t seen anything like it.

Cynics have cast doubt on the genuineness of Blahyi’s conversion and have suggested it’s a ploy to avoid prosecution. As I watched the programme I felt he was sincere.

Watch the docu on Channel 4’s 4oD and make your own mind up.

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