Liberia: Protesting Grand Bassa College Students Hold President Hostage Over Damaged Bridge


Buchanan – Students of the Grand Bassa Community College on Tuesday, June 25, 2019, locked up the College’s President Dr. Samuel Monwell for over three hours for allegedly denying the students the School bus to travel Monrovia and present a petition about the damaged bridge to President George Weah at his Foreign Affairs Office.

Report by Elton W. Tiah, Contributor

Regular classes and administrative works were disrupted for the entire day due to the protest.

Lawrence D. James, President of GBCC Student Council Government, told FrontPageAfrica that the students are impatient due to delay in repairing the damaged bridge that links Buchanan and Paynesberry, where the college is located.

The students had asked administration a week ago, requesting asking the school bus to commute to Monrovia and petition President Weah. And the school accepted their request.

But when the students were ready to make the trip on Tuesday, June 25, they were reportedly denied by Dr. Monwell.

“We spoke with Dr. Monwell to use the school bus to take our petition to President  George Weah because all the heads of this county said they have taken the message of the damaged bridge to the President but it’s like President Weah is not getting the message well,” James said.

“We feel that the President of Liberia will only work on the bridge which got damaged July 2018 if we the students take the message to him by petitioning him at his office in Monrovia”.

James said: “Dr. Samuel Monwell denied us from using the school bus because he is protecting his job. We decided to lock him out to do his job in the heat since he likes his job more than our lives”.

He said the students planned to hold the President hostage for more than three hours but the intervention of the police saved him.

“We will still find other means to take our petition to Monrovia because we have talked over and over and again that our lives are at risk and the bridge is a death trap for we the students,” he stressed.

Dr. Monwell, President of GBCC in a phone conversation, said he tried talking with the students but they just couldn’t listen. 

“I told the students that the bus has been creating mechanical problems for the past few weeks and so I couldn’t allow them to use the bus. I told them that I spoke with the board Chairman Dr. Lawrence Bropleh and he promised to come by Thursday,” Dr. Monwell said.

“I’m aware that the bridge is very bad but I just can’t allow them to go to Monrovia while the board chairman is on his way to the county to meet with us.”

The situation at the college lasted for hours but was later calm down by the Liberian National police who peacefully spoke with the student.

Since the bridge flood water damaged the bridge in December 2018 there have been limited efforts to rehabilitate the bridge.