Thomas Quiwonkpa, a Gio from Nimba County, was a Commanding General of the Armed Forces of Liberia and founder of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia. Born at the town of Zurlay in 1955, Quiwonkpa was the son of subsistence farmers. At the age of sixteen, he joined the AFL in order to further his life; after finishing high school in 1978 through a programme at the Barclay Training Center, he received an assignment to the AFL's records department. He first came to prominence on 12 April 1980 when he assisted Samuel Doe in a military coup that overthrew the Americo-Liberian government of William R. Tolbert, Jr. About a month later, the revolutionaries arrested AFL boss Edwin Lloyd and other military leaders on charges of planning a countercoup; by mid-May, Quiwonkpa was proclaimed a major general and made the new AFL boss, although two months later he was using the title of brigadier general. Before long, he fell out with Doe: in 1983, Quiwonkpa was demoted and subsequently charged with an attempt to overthrow the Doe administration. The charges forced Quiwonkpa to flee the country.