Liberia: Local Human Rights Group Raises Red Flag Over The “Politicizing” Of Liberian Police Force

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MONROVIA – The Public Interest Law Advocacy Center (PILAC) operating in Liberia has raised a red flag over the alleged recruiting of “die-hard partisans” of what it describes as “domestic terrorist groups” within the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) political party into the Liberia National Police (LNP), ahead of the December 8, 2020 ensuing senatorial elections.

Comprising of a group of lawyers, PILAC is a part of the Advocates for Community Alternatives (ACA) which seeks to promote and protect the legal interest of the public and communities against bad governance, among others. As the name depicts, the group fights for the upholding of the laws in the interest of the public.

In a communication dated November 10, 2020 and addressed to Police Inspector General Patrick Sudue, under the signature of the Center’s Executive Director, Counselor Aloysius Toe, the group disclosed that several members of groups within the CDC that have carried out violent and bloody attacks against some members of the opposition community and other peaceful Liberian citizens, are being allegedly recruited into the police force.

“PILAC has learnt that you, in cahoot with the ruling party and under instructions from President George Weah, have clandestinely and unlawfully organized and recruited 150 able-bodied men (mostly ex-combatants and ruling party-thugs), drawn from three (3) violent militia groups—“Sabu Unit”, “Kuba Unit”, and “Moscow Empire”; groups that have carried out violent and bloody attacks against opposition figures, peaceful critics of government and innocent civilians”.

“Based on information received, you’ve placed them on police payroll, and paid each of them hundred and sixty United States Dollars (US$160) for the month of October. We also understand that you assigned them regular police ID numbers reserved for enlisted police officers”

The group disclosed that on October 10, IG Sudue dispatched the new recruits to the National Police Academy for training, to prepare them to become a “brutal police unit” that will be used against the opposition, peaceful protesters, and critics of government.

Threat to democracy

PILAC indicated that the alleged action of IG Sudue to “politicize the police” threatens Liberia’s democracy, and undermines the rule of law in the country.

“Your latest action to politicize the police clearly weakens the rule of law, threatens our democracy, and undermines and thwarts the enormous efforts of the United States Government & United Nations that have invested so many resources to professionalize the LNP, and institutionalize a non-partisan police force”.

Violations

The group maintained that the alleged action also contravenes Sections 22.93 (b) i.3 of the Liberian National Police Act of 2016, Sections 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, and 7.6 of the Liberia National Police Rights and Condition of Service Regulation of 2016, signed by the Minister Justice, Frank Musah Dean, on April 17, 2018, and Approved by President George on August 21, 2018.

Among other things, these provisions prohibit active partisans from joining the police; and further provide that notices of recruitment into the LNP shall be made adequately available to the public at all police depots; and all applicants shall be background-checked, vetted, screened, tested and examined academically, physically and medically by the Division of Human Resources, and approved by the Policy Management Board, before being sent for training at the National Police Training Academy.

PILAC added that in the current case, none of these steps was followed, but instead, “diehard CDC party loyalists were recruited outside police structures and sent directly to the academy for police training”.

“PILAC strenuously objects to your secret and unilateral partisan recruitment, and demand that you immediately disband the recruits and refund the LNP’s US$160 you’ve illegitimately paid each of them”.

Involving International Community?

Meanwhile, the Public Interest Law Advocacy Center has threatened to draw the attention of the International Community to the enlisting of members of “domestic terrorist groups if IG Sudue does not abandon his quest.

The group maintained that it will not hesitate to also institute court proceeding against the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police if he fails to heed to it demands.

LNP Denial

Police spokesman, Moses Carter, told FrontPageAfrica that he is unaware of any such training.

He said, “the police academy is used for many things including the training of paramilitary units, but I am not aware of the training of any new training of police officers. I don’t have that information.”

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