Kakata, Margibi – In the enforcement of President George Manneh Weah’s ‘stay home’ State of Emergency another, another horrifying story has emerged as it relates to state security brutality against ordinary Liberians.
Report by Yawah Y. Jaivey, Contributor
A 21-year-old pregnant woman who was allegedly, mercilessly flogged by officers of the Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency (LDEA) in Margibi County, has told FrontPageAfrica that she is in an appalling health condition due to injuries she sustained from the hands of these men.
Grace Perry, explaining her ordeal in agony to this newspaper on Sunday, April 26, in Kakata, recounted that in the afternoon hours of Sunday, April 19, she got into labor pain and the local healthcare provider in her village on the Kakata-Bong Mines highway took the decision to make a referral with her to the C.H. Rennie Hospital in Kakata due to the critical nature of her condition at the time.
As they approached Kakata main streets, according to her, some LDEA’s officers numbering at least five rushed towards the motorbike and without asking questions, started whipping them with rattans. This led to the bike operator losing control of his steering and fallen, along with his passengers, including Ms. Perry. This fall caused the motorcycle’s hot exhaust to burn her right thigh.
She said the drug officers had accused the motorcyclist of violating the 3 p.m. ‘stay home’ order of the State of Emergency.
President Weah, on Wednesday, April 8, declared the State of Emergency, which commenced on Friday, April 10 at 11:59 p.m. for a period of three weeks. This mandate, which has again been extended for additional weeks, is aimed at halting the spread of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) CoV-II’s transmission in the country.
“When the motorbike fell, the LDEA’s men were still beating on us until I became unconscious. I only recalled what happened to us when I came to the hospital. I was informed that some community members intervened and called the ambulance to come and hurriedly get me to the hospital.”– Grace Perry, Victim of alleged flogging by DEA Officers
Narrating further Ms. Perry said, “When the motorbike fell, the LDEA’s men were still beating on us until I became unconscious. I only recalled what happened to us when I came to at the hospital. I was informed that some community members intervened and called the ambulance to come and hurriedly get me to the hospital.”
While she was grateful to God that she delivered her baby safely, she thinks that the severe beating and pain from the burn made her push her baby out ahead of schedule. She couldn’t say exactly when she was due, though.
She further stressed that her horrific and brutal encounter with the LDEA’s officers has left her traumatized and restless due to the pains she is feeling from the burn on her leg and body.
Ms. Perry lamented that as a lactating mother, the survival and health of her one-week-old baby is at stake due to her poor health condition and this is making her unable to breast feed her baby.
“Since I got this sore on my thigh, I have never gotten treatment for it. The sore on my leg continues to swell. My parents have engaged the Liberia National Police and the Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency authorities in Margibi County to hold men responsible, but they have said they cannot identify the people who beat me.”
She is appealing to the Ministry of Justice and other human rights organizations in the country to promptly intervene into her situation in order to get justice.
Hospital authorities told FPA that they couldn’t comment on such health-related matters.
When contacted via mobile phone on Monday, April 27, LDEA’s Margibi County Commander, Kpehe Lomax, confirmed to FPA of receiving complaint from the family of Grace Perry. Commander Lomax informed this newspaper that he has since launched a probe into the matter and the perpetrators would be brought to book.
Meanwhile, following Ms. Perry’s appeal for assistance to seek medication on FrontPageAfrica’s Facebook live page, a US-based Liberian, Mr. Alexander Boniface Hayes, Monday, April 27, sent US$50 via MoneyGram through FPA’s Margibi County’s Correspondent Yawah Y. Jaivey to foot some of her medical bills.