Monrovia – Liberia’s leading opposing political party appears to be in hot water with the Liberian National Police after making condemning statements about the Police raid of suspected criminals and drug addicts from the main streets of Monrovia.
“I would like to make reference to a letter dated October 17,2016 from the Revolutionary Youth League of the Congress of Democratic Change making some accusation of some youths dying in Police custody, we will be calling them into give us more information, it is vital for the security of this state” - Col. Gregory Coleman, Director - Liberian Police
On Tuesday October 18, LNP Inspector General, Gregory Coleman invited the youth league of the Congress of Democratic Change to give further information about their statement.
Coleman’s invitation to CDC came after the party’s youth league at a press conference earlier on Tuesday morning expressed concerns over the Police action against astray youths also known as ‘Zogos’.
The CDC revealed that their attention had been drawn to what they termed as the [“violent] removal from the streets of homeless youths, car loaders and others.”
The CDC also claimed that the Police cannot account for some individuals that were raided from the streets.
CDC youth league chair, Jefferson Koijee, said there were multiple ways to reduce the possibility of crime and the Police action might be an attempt to work in that direction.
“However, there is a level of concern that we have as regards the manner in which these persons have been forcibly and with brutality enjoined from the enjoyment of the liberty by the unilateral directive of Abraham Kromah,” Koijee said.
Koijee hinted that the party was concerned about the manner in which these individuals (zogos) have been “forcibly and brutality” removed from the streets was illegal.
Stating Article 20 of the Liberian Constitution, the CDC youth chair emphasized the significance of the Police recognizing the rights of individuals in accordance with the due process of the law.
“There is nothing that indicates that there were complaints filed against these individuals, arrest warrants issue or that any of them had access to a lawyer,” he said.
He also accused the Police of not properly handling their operations in raiding the streets of alleged criminals.
“There were no listing that has been made available to the public or families of those concerns as regards those targeted, (if there was a target) and those actually taken, consequently we have no way of knowing whether any individual could be picked up at any time, can this action be justified by AB Kromah as a continuation of his efforts to rid Monrovia of the persons in question.”
Police Inspector General Coleman has however described the statement as “baseless and untrue”.
The Police boss noted that the invitation given to the CDC youth league chair was geared toward providing information to the Crime Service Department on statements made by the CDC.
“We are calling them in to give us detail; we can’t see everywhere so we are inviting them to come forward to provide us information, if someone is making these statements that show that they have information which we need, so they now have chance to provide the information,” Coleman said.
The CDC youth league communication was also copied to Ministry of Justice, United Nations, United States Embassy, African Union, ECOWAS and European Union among others.
The CDC Youth league chair warned that “They can’t stand idly by and watch him (Kromah) enforce disappearances to his dreadful resume.
“Currently the persons he took from the street cannot be all accounted for , we have been informed that a good number of them are sick, even more disturbing news now in pour possession suggests that four of the young people are now dead and being surreptitiously buried without any involvement of their families,” Koijee
But the Police boss who is not taking CDC’s comments any lightly said the party’s position clearly shows that they have information and evidence to proof that four persons died from the recent raid of allege criminals from the streets.
“I would like to make reference to a letter dated October 17, 2016 from the Revolutionary Youth League of the Congress of Democratic Change making some accusation of some youths dying in Police custody,” Coleman said at programs marking his official turnover on Tuesday.
“We will be calling them in to give us more information, it is vital for the security of this state.”
Continue Coleman: “If someone making such allegation they must be invited for more information and we will not tolerate people making reckless statement to endanger the state, we will act on the basis of good evidence I mean good evidence.”
Col. Coleman stressed the Liberia National Police’s commitment to a violence-free election, while revealing that a lot would be done to keep the state safe.
“Many people have said that 2017 will be violence election, but we come against that rumor and we can say this will be one of the peaceful election, we will collaborate with candidates and parties to coordinate campaign activities and to keep citizens safe, and all riots were be covered"
"We want to reassure all that we will do all we can for the election to be peaceful,” Coleman said.