You have to be kidding, right!?!

General Butt Naked and the Incomparable Power of Redemption by WILL DABBS

The Liberian Civil War that took place in the latter parts of the 20th century was a veritable orgy of unconstrained violence.

To the civilized mind, there is a great deal about which to be bewildered as regards the Liberian Civil War. The first installment ran from 1989 until 1997 and killed perhaps a quarter-million people. The details are labyrinthine and convoluted.

Every time I read about the Liberian warlord Charles Taylor I think of the sneakers. I’m sure there’s no connection.

The players included eclectic names like Prince Johnson, Chuck Norris, General Mosquito, and his counterpart General Mosquito Spray, Samuel Doe, Roosevelt Johnson, and Charles Taylor. I have it on reliable information that this Charles Taylor was no relation to the Chuck Taylor of Converse All-Stars sneakers fame.

Charles Taylor was ultimately responsible for countless deaths and incalculable suffering. He’s rocking an interesting AK here. Note the milled stock struts, the early slab-sided magazine, and the unusual M203 grenade launcher mounting. Mind that trigger finger, Mr. President.

There resulted a tenuous peace that lasted some two years and ultimately saw Mr. Taylor installed as President of Liberia. In 1999 the Second Liberian Civil War conflagrated, claiming another roughly quarter-million dead. Charles Taylor was arrested in 2006 and tried in the Hague for crimes against humanity. This included wanton murder, rape, weapons proliferation, and the widespread use of child soldiers.

Charles Taylor was the driving force behind some of history’s greatest atrocities.

Taylor was sentenced to fifty years behind bars. At his sentencing, the Presiding Judge said: “The accused has been found responsible for aiding and abetting as well as planning some of the most heinous and brutal crimes in recorded human history.”

Charles Taylor remains incarcerated in the UK for war crimes today. The shot on the right is Mr. Taylor during his warlord days.

As he was 58 at the time of his sentencing Taylor should be released sometime around his 108th birthday.

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

Joshua Blahyi was quite literally a stark raving maniac during the Liberian Civil War. His criminal psychopathic antics shock the civilized mind.

Joshua Milton Blahyi was born on September 30, 1971. During the First Liberian Civil War, he served as a military commander in the employ of the Liberian warlord Roosevelt Johnson. The world knows Blahyi by his eclectic nom de guerre. To the public, Joshua Blahyi went by General Butt Naked.

Liberia in the 1990s was likely a decent approximation of hell. Well-armed militias sowed unfettered terror.

Imagine if all the cops, National Guard troops, and authority figures in the greater Chicago area suddenly retired en mass. Now visualize a pile of some 150,000 or so AK47 rifles left outside Wrigley Field alongside a sign reading, “Free, Take One. No More than three Magazines per Customer. ” Voila, you have Liberia circa 1989.

Joshua Blahyi’s nihilistic worldview was built upon a foundation of West African pagan animism. Blahyi performed his first ritual human sacrifice at age 11. 

Joshua Blahyi was born into the Liberian Sarpo tribe and appointed a Krahn high priest. This animist belief system orbited around a variety of “bush spirits” that must be appeased before good things can happen. Blahyi’s principal deity was one Nyanbe-a-weh–“a high-ranking god in the West African Black-witch coastal line division.” It turned out that Nyanbe-a-weh had some peculiar tastes.

At the hands of men like Joshua Blahyi the blood flowed in torrents across Liberia.

In the service of Nyanbe-a-weh and Roosevelt Johnson, Blahyi ultimately killed some 20,000 people. He also engaged in regular human sacrifice as well as cannibalism, particularly of children. Blahyi ultimately came to believe, rightly so I suspect, that Nyanbe-a-weh was actually the Devil.

Unconventional Combat Gear

This is Mr. Blahyi in his younger years decked out in his full combat regalia.

That brings us back to Joshua Blahyi’s catchy stage name, General Butt Naked. Blahyi frequently led his troops into battle wearing nothing more than his shoes and an assault rifle. He believed that only in nudity could he be rendered immune to bullets.

Consuming the heart of an innocent child was believed to render one immune from harm in battle. That’s what this gentleman is doing here.

Before engaging in combat, Blahyi and his men would usually sacrifice a small child to satisfy the blood lust of Nyanbe-a-weh. Blahyi stated that he needed, “Someone whose fresh blood would satisfy the Devil. We would kill an innocent child and take out the heart, which was divided into pieces for us to eat.” Blahyi also claimed that he, “Met Satan regularly and talked to him.”

This is General Naked in the midst of one of his many combat operations.

Blahyi said during an interview with the South African Star, “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, and drunk yet strategic. We killed hundreds of people—so many I lost count.”

Many of Butt Naked’s fighters inexplicably dressed as women before going into battle. Seems pretty freaking intimidating to me.

Whilst in combat Blahyi claimed he had special powers that rendered him invisible. Blahyi’s soldiers, many as young as nine, would fight naked or while wearing women’s clothing. The mercenary unit he commanded became widely known as the Naked Base Commandos. They were full-bore psychopaths.

The Guns

While there certainly seems to be no shortage of heavy weapons like this 14.5 mm Combloc ZPU-4 on display in places like Liberia and Rwanda, most of the carnage was rendered by small arms and machetes.

The countless internecine squabbles that blanketed Africa during the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s served as proxy fights for the Cold War superpowers wishing to expand their influence and ideologies remotely. While that occasionally meant military advisors, aircraft, and armor, for the most part, it was simply small arms, lots and lots of small arms. By the time the First Liberian Civil War kicked off in 1989 the entire continent was covered in a thin patina of Kalashnikov rifles.

The price of a full auto AK is a reliable international measure of an area’s state of civility. If you can trade into a decent AK for a pair of chickens and a low-mileage Hustler magazine you should move someplace else. Note the lack of a top cover on this example.
The Combloc PKM is a ubiquitous finding in most modern warzones.
I found pictures of quite a few Combloc PPS-43 submachine guns like these in use during the Liberian Civil War.

I couldn’t find many specifics about the weapons used to prosecute this tidy little genocide, but I did study a lot of pictures. AKs seemed to predominate in both fixed and folding versions. There were also quite a few FN FAL rifles and Combloc PKM belt-fed machineguns. Additionally, there seemed to be a smattering of HK G3 rifles as well as PPS-43 and Uzi submachine guns.


Mikhail Kalashnikov changed the world with his uber-reliable assault rifle. He died in 2013 at the age of 94. Watch that trigger finger, Comrade.

The Avtomat Kalashnikova was, so the story goes, the brainchild of a WW2-era Soviet tank driver named Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov. Comrade Kalashnikov was the 17th of 19 children born to Russian peasants. In 1930 most of the Kalashnikov family was deported to Siberia as part of Stalin’s purges.

The definitive AK47 featured a milled steel receiver with characteristic lightening cuts. This is a Chicom Type 56 version.

The earliest AK47’s were formed around a stamped steel receiver, but this was found to be inadequately robust for hard field use. The definitive AK47 was therefore built upon an expensive milled steel receiver. This rugged tire tool of a rifle weighed some 7.7 pounds empty, fed from a 30-round detachable steel magazine, and cycled at 600 rounds per minute.

What most of the planet calls an AK47 is actually an AKM. This version of the venerable Kalashnikov orbits around a stamped receiver and is the most produced variant of the series. It can be distinguished at a glance by its ribbed top cover, angled muzzle brake, and the distinctive dimples in the receiver just above the magazine.

In 1959 the AK47 got an extreme makeover. The stamped steel receiver was finally perfected, and the gun assumed the new designation AKM (Avtomat Kalashnikova Modernizirovannyj). This version weighed 7.28 pounds empty and was much easier and cheaper to build. The AKM used the same magazines and had the same cyclic rate of fire as the AK47. All totaled around 100 million AK-variant rifles have been produced, and they are still churned out around the globe today.

The FN FAL armed most of the free world throughout the Cold War. This is the Austrian StG58 version.

The FNFAL has been rightfully referred to as the “Right Arm of the Free World.” Designed by Dieudonne Saive in 1947 and initially chambered for the German 7.92×33 kurz round, the FAL ultimately fired the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge. The gun weighed between 8.3 and 9.8 pounds depending upon particulars. The FAL’s designer, Dieudonne Saive, was also the guy who polished up John Moses Browning’s last semiautomatic pistol design into the P35 Browning Hi-Power.

Guns are currency in many parts of Africa today.

There are around 30 million military weapons currently in circulation in Africa. The disintegration of the Libyan state and subsequent looting of government arsenals provided literally countless more. The ready availability of weapons combined with an entrenched tribal system results in a near-constant state of war someplace on the continent. Sprinkle a little radical Islam across the top for flavor and you have the chemical formula for pure unfettered chaos.

The Rest of the Story

This is Joshua Blahyi today. A transformational spiritual conversion turned his sordid life around.

In 1996 Joshua Blahyi met Jesus. He claims he had a vision from God who told him, “Repent and live, refuse and die.”

Joshua Blahyi’s former soldiers and commanders threatened to kill him after his conversion to Christianity, so he fled to Ghana. He has since returned to Monrovia where he serves as a full-time pastor and evangelist.

Blahyi began sleeping on a pew in a nearby church. Afterward, he said he met Jesus in a blinding light who addressed him as a son. Blahyi handed over his weapons and amulets to his immediate commander and declared, “My new Commander is Jesus Christ.”

An acquaintance used a .38 revolver like this one to shoot a particular stranger in a crowd because a demon in his head instructed him to do so.

I once met a guy on a psychiatry rotation who claimed to be indwelled with three spirits named Dagon, Demidagon, and Begored. He shot a complete stranger in the belly five times with a .38 because the voices in his head told him to do so. When we met he was thirty days out from a five-year penitentiary stay for this unsettling infraction.

The guy I met on the psych ward had put his time in prison to good use. He was legendarily fit.

As near as I could tell, this guy did nothing but lift weights for five years straight. He was, as a result, an incredibly imposing figure. After he presented to the Emergency Department he also intentionally ingested a drywall screw along with the needle off of a hypodermic syringe.

The overwhelming majority of schizophrenics I have encountered professionally are completely harmless. It is a lamentably burdensome disease. However, this one guy was undeniably terrifying. The screw and needle passed in a few days of their own accord.

My buddy’s formal diagnosis was schizophrenia. He was also remarkably articulate and intelligent. He explained to me that as a teenager he had prayed to Satan to send these three guys to keep him company. Yes, it was freaky weird and super creepy. Thanks for asking.

Joshua Blahyi today is a force for forgiveness in war-torn Liberia.

Regardless of where you fall on the subject of demonic possession, in the case of Joshua Blahyi, it is hard to argue with success. Blahyi’s life turned completely around in that single instant. Today he is 49 years old and runs a residential facility that teaches his former child soldiers life skills. He seeks out the families of those he killed requesting forgiveness. He proclaims Jesus and salvation at every opportunity. I found a YouTube video of him preaching. He seemed quite sincere.

The power of the Gospel saved Joshua Blahyi from a life of unimaginable darkness.

Joshua Blahyi was once described as, “the most evil man in the world.” Since he found Jesus, however, his life has been characterized by service, repentance, and forgiveness. In General Butt Naked’s stark transformation from bloodthirsty psychopath into pastor, evangelist, and mentor we see manifest the simply breathtaking power of forgiveness.

This guy’s t-shirt and its obvious context perfectly demonstrate the inexplicable contrast that was the grueling Liberian Civil War.
This dude seems incongruously happy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *