Deposited Liberian vice president Bennie Warner said today that he is organizing a political guerrilla movement to overthrow Liberia's new military government of "high school dropouts and juvenile delinquents."
Warner also said he will try to contact Liberian Army Maj. William Jebor, a U.S.-trained expert on guerrilla warfare, who has been on the run with an armed band of supporters inside Liberia since the April 12 military coup that overthrew the civilian government of assassinated president William Tolbert.
"If I get a hold of [Jebor] I would definitely give him all the support I can," said Warner, who arrived in Abidjan last night from the United States. "I would even put on a uniform and join him if I knew how to reach him," Warner, 44, said at a press conference here.
Warner, appointed vice president in November 1977, was attending a Methodist Church conference in Indiana with his family at the time of the coup. He is a Methodist bishop.
Warner's statements immediately after the coup indicated he favored the causes that led to the revolt, but he said today that he has since been repelled by the executions of former government officials in Monrovia last week and the imprisonment of hundreds of others.
He was accompanied at today's press conference by John Marcus Kakumba, former deputy foreign secretary of the guerilla group, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). Kakumba said he flew here with Warner from the United States last night.
UNITA, cureently fighting a guerrilla war against the Marxist government of Angola, allegedly receives assistance from South Africa and has received military assistance from the American Central Intelligence Agency in the past.
Kakumba, who reportedly travels on a Senegalese diplomatic passport and is known to have extensive political and business connections in Africa and Europe, declined to discuss his relationship with Warner.
Jeremias Chitunda. UNITA's representative in Paris, said in a telephone interview that "Kakumba doesn't have anything to do with our organization anymore."
UNITA, Chitunda added, "has no intention whatsoever of mixing in any internal problems of other countries outside of angola."
A well-informed source in Washington who knows Kakumba, said Kakumba was expelled from the guerrilla group but had continued to be useful to them. "He knows," the source said, "where to ge money and arms."
Kakumba is also a former president of Equatorial Guinea's central bank under the late dictator masie Nguema Biyogo Negua Ndong, the source added.
Warner said that he has not approached the U.S. government -- with which his toppled government had close ties -- for aid. "The United States is preoccupied with Afghanistan and Iran," Warner said. But he added that he hoped that the American government would want "to help reinstate a constitutional government" in Liberia.
The Tolbert government was overthrown in a bloody coup more than two weeks ago by a group of noncommissioned Army officers led by Master Sgt. Samuel Doe, 28, who has become the first indigenous Liberian to head the government. Doe has said he overthrew the Tolbert administration because of "rampant corruption" and the suppression of human rights by the elite minority of Americo-Liberians -- the descendants of American slaves who founded and have ruled the country since the early 19th century.