Thomas Weh Syen

Last updated
Thomas Weh Syen
DiedAugust 1981
Cause of deathExecution by firing squad
Political party People's Redemption Council

Thomas Weh Syen (died August 1981) was a Liberian soldier and politician. He was a leading member of the group of enlisted men that overthrow the country's government in an April 1980 military coup d'état, and accordingly he became one of the leaders of the new military junta, the People's Redemption Council. In the wake of the coup d'état, he took the title of major general in the Armed Forces of Liberia and became the co-chairman of the PRC; as a result, he was the immediate deputy of Commander-in-Chief Samuel Doe and the Vice Head of State. [1] From the earliest days of the PRC, Doe and Syen clashed; testimony before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2008 revealed that their disagreements began during the coup itself, when Weh Syen and Doe forcibly disagreed about the disposal of money that had been stolen from the home of the newly murdered President William R. Tolbert, Jr. [2] While a member of the PRC, he was partly responsible for educational affairs, [1] but his time on the Council was short-lived. After allegedly attempting to overthrow Doe in a second coup, [3] five PRC members, including Weh Syen, were shot in August 1981 on Doe's orders. [4] Weh Syen was tried in a court-martial at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia. He was replaced as Vice Head of State by PRC Speaker J. Nicholas Podier. [5]

He was the father of a son, Thomas Weh Syen, Jr., who died soon after his father — on 24 December 1981, the 5½-year-old boy was hit by a car while he was crossing a street near his home. [6]

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  1. 1 2 "Gen. Weh Syen Chides Students". The Spectrum 1981-06-24: 1/8.
  2. TRC Hearing: Late Prez Tolbert's Daughter Adds More, The Liberian Journal, 2008-06-11. Accessed 2012-06-09.
  3. Mutwol, Julius. Peace Agreements and Civil Wars in Africa. Amherst: Cambria, 2009, 51.
  4. "Liberia: Moving Up in the Ranks", Time 1981-09-14. Accessed 2012-06-09.
  5. "Weh-Syen Weeps?" The Express 1981-08-12: 1/8.
  6. "Tragedy Hits Weh Syen's Family Again". Daily Observer 1982-01-12: 12.