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Meet 'General Butt Naked' -- the Cannibalistic African Warlord Turned Christian Evangelist


"I believe the Bible strongly and it says God has forgiven me."

Don't let the name fool you. General Butt Naked was one of the most brutal African warlords to hit "the streets." His violent past is well-documented, as he traveled throughout Liberia in search of victims to kill and -- eat. But after his years of torturous reign, the "general," whose real name is Joshua Milton Blahyi, is seeking redemption.

Following his ruthless antics during Liberia's 14-year civil war (between 1989 and 2003, 250,000 people were killed and one million were displaced by the inter-tribal war), he has left his violent past behind and reinvented himself as a Christian evangelist. It was in 1996, seven years before the war ended, that Blahyi converted to Christianity and suspended his murderous rampage. Today, he is married and has three children.

Contrary to his former life as a black-magic performing high priest, Blahyi, 40, now travels across Liberia preaching, working to expose cannibalism and trying to escape his horrendously-tarnished past. His mission transcends merely sharing the gospel, as he is seeking out the individuals he once victimized to find earthly forgiveness.

Now, you're probably wondering how he got his name -- "General Butt Naked." Blahyi was known to fight only with his AK-47 and a pair of leather shoes. He and his child army (yes, they were all children) are said to have murdered thousands during the nation's brutal civil war.

According to Daily Mail, Blahyi's rampage started when he committed a cannibalistic initiation sacrifice on a little girl when he was 11-years-old. This action was the first in what he claims amounts to a total of 20,000 murders (though his rivals dispute this number). Daily Mail continues:

His crimes included child sacrifice, cannibalism, the exploitation of child soldiers and trading blood diamonds for guns and cocaine, which he fed to boy soldiers as young as nine.  [...]

Having spent 14 years holding nightly conversations with the devil, he had a blinding vision of Christ who told him to end the killings and convert.

A new film entitled, "The Redemption of General Butt Naked," follows the former warlord, while showcasing his efforts to fix the lives he destroyed. The Economist has more about the film:

The Redemption of General Butt Naked follows Joshua Milton Blahyi – also known as General Butt Naked – a brutal African warlord who has renounced his violent past and reinvented himself as a Christian evangelist. Today, Blahyi travels the nation of Liberia as a preacher, seeking out those he once victimized in search of an uncertain forgiveness. Filmmakers Eric Strauss and Daniele Anastasion track his often troubling path up-close, finding both the genuine and disconcerting in Blahyi’s efforts, raising questions about the limits of faith and forgiveness in the absence of justice.

Watch this special PBS clip that provides footage from the film:

In a 2010 interview with the Daily Mail, Blahyi discussed forgiveness. "I believe the Bible strongly and it says God has forgiven me," he explains. He even says he'd be willing to be tried and hanged for war crimes at The Hague, should his situation culminate with such an action.

While his spiritual life may be sound, his earthly existence is certainly in jeopardy. His wife and children live in Ghana, where they are in hiding, as his mission to find forgiveness among those he wronged forges on.

You can read more about his fascinating story here.

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