Liberia’s State of Emergency: Police Fires Tear-gas to Force Citizens in Door in Central Monrovia
MONROVIA – Officers of the Police Support Unit (PSU) of the Liberia National Police (LNP) fired tear gas on Monday, May 4, to enforce a state of emergency intended to curtail the spread of the coronavirus across the country.
Report by Obediah Johnson, [email protected]
About 20 persons have died of the coronavirus in Liberia, while 170 other cases remain active, according to the latest report released by the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL).
The officers were enforcing the 3PM stay indoor mandate declared by President Weah when the incident occurred.
Three persons were injured and allegedly brutalized as a result of the incident that occurred on Johnson Street in Central Monrovia.
Amie Toure is one of the victims who went unconscious during the incident.
Speaking to FrontPage Africa in an exclusive interview on Tuesday, the victim pointed out that 10 armed PSU officers stormed their home, demanding that they go indoors on grounds that it was above the 3 PM.
She added that the refusal of one of the occupants to go indoors aggravated the PSU officers, who allegedly fired tear gas into the eyes of one of the victims.
Amie disclosed that an attempt by one of the officers to fire another round of tear gas prompted an explosion which compelled most of the PSU officers and others effectuating the arrest of one of the violators of the state of emergency to vacate the scene, leaving the victims unconscious.
She, however, denied reports that occupants of the house were smoking shisha, drinking and merry-making when the incident occurred.
“It was around four going to five and I was on my porch cooking to break my fast. One of my brothers was on the table sleeping; and I saw about ten police men coming with arms-they asked my brother to go inside and he said I am in my yard-they started beating the boy”.
“I was lying down on the table sleeping when they came. They said I should go inside, but I told them this is where I live; and they said I was defying them They dragged and started to beat on me. I held the table so they couldn’t carry me. They took out the batons and started beating me. But still they couldn’t carry me. I ran in my house and they ran behind me, took out the tear gas and sprayed it in my eyes two times and I started getting weak.”Eugene Tamba, Victim
“I told them that we are in our yard how your will be beating the boy; but they were still beating him. They said they wanted to carry the boy to the police station, but they were not able. So, they sprayed the boy face and nose with the tear gas; they opened another one but it exploded”.
Amie disclosed that as a result of the incident, she continues to feel burns in her legs and other parts of her body.
“Right now, I am feeling pains in my body just like when you put pepper on somebody”.
Also speaking, victim Eugene Tamba stated that though he attempted going into the house instead of being taken to the police station by the PSU officers, the officers immediately pursued him to carry on the alleged act.
“I was lying down on the table sleeping when they came. They said I should go inside, but I told them this is where I live; and they said I was defying them They dragged and started to beat on me. I held the table so they couldn’t carry me. They took out the batons and started beating me. But still they couldn’t carry me. I ran in my house and they ran behind me, took out the tear gas and sprayed it in my eyes two times and I started getting weak”.
“One of the officers came to me again, trying to open the tear gas to spray on my face-that’s how the tear gas exploded. When they and I were in that riot, this oldma (Amie) was there asking them to leave me-and that’s was how she got affected”.
In a video on the social media, Assistant Commissioner of Police Wadell Kwabo denied the allegations raised by the victims.
According to him, the incident occurred when victim Eugene resisted arrest for violating the 3PM stay indoors order.
He maintained that the alleged unruly behavior of victim Eugene also prompted the explosion of a tear gas.
“Tear gas was not fired; tear gas exploded at the misconduct of one citizen to be identified. The officers had gone to do a follow up based upon a complaint from a neighbor that people were always playing music and disregarding the state of emergency”.
“Out of a sudden, I heard explosion. No one place pepper spray on him. There is no way a police office will want to use this tear gas and it just explode. He was being scared away by the officers like a neighbor boy for a statement he made and he started throwing stones”.