Government of Liberia, George Kailondo Suspected of Having Link to Murder of Journalist Tyron Browne
Monrovia – Recent unfolding events especially as it relates to the mysterious, gruesome murder of Journalist Tyron Browne continue to pounder and disturb the minds of Liberians and the media community, with several allegations coming from various sectors.
Report by Willie N. Tokpa, [email protected]
As Liberians wonder over the who and what of the death of the late Super FM/TV reporter, it seems, however, that one of the country’s eminent persons, His Excellency Ambassador Rufus Neufville, former Chief of Protocol of Liberia, knows who murdered the young journalist.
On Wednesday, April 18, Amb. Neufville, who is also a former lawmaker of Montserrado County, squarely put the death of Mr. Browne on the Liberian government; adding: ‘‘The days of terror have resurfaced in Liberia.’’
‘‘While we were addressing the issue of FrontPage Africa again, Journalist Tyron Browne was grusomely murdered by people we believe acted under the influence of the state,’’ Neufville said.
But the government has rubbished his allegations, stating that the former lawmaker‘s statement is ‘‘irresponsible.’’
The Assistant Information Minister for Public Affairs, Mr. Samuel Worzie further described Amb. Nuefville as ‘‘a failed former lawmaker.’’
Mr. Neufville, who represented the people of District No 8, Montserrado County in the 52nd Legislature, further told a news conference Wednesday on the University of Liberia’s Capitol Hill campus that the mysterious murder of Journalist Browne was ‘‘masterminded by people acting under the instruction of government. ’’
While Mr. Neufville, who is Executive Director of the People Action Network, said he strongly holds the government responsible for the killing of Journalist Browne, he also urged state actors investigating the killing to bring the perpetrators to face justice.
According to him, threats against the media, including forcing one of its practioners into exile, using another state institution to shutdown a media house, signals that government is on a spreed to crackdown on the media.
‘‘If you threatened the media, if you forced a journalist into exile, if you ransacked the office of the independent FrontPage Africa and then a journalist is murdered, only a fool will not believe that government is responsible for the death of Tyron Browne,’’ Neufville emphasized.
‘‘All reasonable Liberians, can fairly say under the presumption that the government killed Tyron Browne to sent a message to the media community that we are here to deal with you and deal with you very harshly.’’
The former Chief of Protocol reminded government that the right to free speech and assembly are constitutional and should not be violated by state actors.
The former lawmaker also alarmed that officials of the Weah-led administration are more brutal in their first year of governance than the Charles Taylor and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administrations.
‘‘The People Action Network will not rest until the government can bring those they sent to kill Tyron Browne. We believe that the state sponsored the killing of Tyron Browne and that believe is under the presumption that if you threatned a man before his death, you are responsible for his dealth. We don’t care how he died, but the fact that you have threatned to kill the person, you are responsible.’’
At the same time, Mr. Neufville has expressed fear over the strange happenings in Liberia in the midst of threats against media practitioners and institutions, cautioning journalists against roaming the streets after 10 p.m.
However, reacting to the allegations, Assistant Information Minister Samuel Worzie termed as unfortunate for anyone to link the Weah-led government to assasination of Liberians.
Worzie told FrontPage Africa that government is surely concerned about the peace and security of the state, and to ensure that every citizen is protected.
‘‘It is very much unfortunate for anyone to think that this government is behind the assasination of peaceful citizens. This government will not and cannot get involved in the elimination of even those who are considered opposition to this regime,’’ Worzie stressed.
The government’s spokesman believed Mr. Neufville’s outbrust is only meant to draw public attention to him as he is gone into oblivion.
He maintained that it was strange that the former lawmaker would call a press conference that was only intended for his survivability at the regime’s expanse. ‘‘This government is not in the business of dignifying insignificant individuals. This government is interested in the fight against bad governance and creating jobs for its peole,’’ Worzie said.
He emphasized that Journalist Browne’s death is a paramount concern of the government and that it will be properly investigated.
Though the cause of death and those suspected of being behind the murder are yet to be authenticated, another person that fingers are now being pointed at is the employer of the late journalist.
Social media and some radio talkshow callers have been calling on the investigators to include Mr. George B. Kailondo, who is the Chief Executive Officer and owner of Super FM/TV, to be included in the ongoing probe.
This newspaper has heard from some workers at Super FM/TV, who preferred anonymity that their employer has not paid them for months and so the employer-employees relationship has not been rosy and that Browne was one of those advocating for their just benefits
FrontPage Africa was told that on the day of his murder, Journalist Browne had returned from video recording a traditional wedding ceremony before he responded to a call he had received from a workmate, who is yet to be identified.
Journalist Browne, who was a reporter and camera operator at Super FM/TV, was murdered on Monday, April 16, and his body dumped in the Duport Road Community.
His personal belongings including cellphone, money and other working apparatuses were reportedly found in tact near his lifeless body.
The death of Journalist Browne follows growing security threats and intimidation of journalists and the independent media by some powerful state actors in Liberia.
Admist the threats, some employees at Liberia‘s outstanding news outlet — FrontPage Africa — were arrested and their offices shutdown for few hours. Also BBC Correspondent Jonathan Paye-Layleh had to flee Liberia fearing that his life was under threat.