Liberia: AFL Soldier Who Was Electrocuted While on Duty Threatens to Commit Suicide
MONROVIA – A Sergeant of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) who was electrocuted while on his duty at the Barclay Training Center (BTC) Barracks, George Kaifa, has threatened to commit suicide if the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led-government of President George Manneh Weah fails to send him aboard for advance medical treatment.
It can be recalled that on October 19, 2019, Sergeant Kaifa was electrocuted when a gun he was carrying mistakenly “hooked” a high tension wire of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), while leaving a tower to pick up his ration (food) from the kitchen during the night hours.
He lost one of his breasts, thumbs, and the scars on his body remain uncountable as a result of numerous surgeries conducted by doctors assigned at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center- where he was admitted following the tragic incident.
Sergeant Kaifa continues to suffer from multiple wounds that have not been healed up to present, and only two of his remaining nine fingers are partially functional.
Speaking in an interview with Frontpage Africa at his residence in the Borough of New Kru Town over the week end, the ailing AFL soldier complained that he continues to feel excruciating pains and numbness since he was discharged from the hospital in February of this year.
He added that he is presently surviving on his meager salary of US$230 and L$10,700 per month.
According to him, the monies are insufficient to provide basic necessities for him and his family members.
He disclosed that apart from his salary and the little ration of two 25kg bags of rice, nothing exact is being provided to him presently by authorities of the Ministry of National Defense and the AFL.
Sergeant Kaifa claimed that his present salary cannot also shoulder the cost of his house rent of US$650 per annual.
He noted that his current condition is making life unbearable for him.
“It has been very bad for me since October 19. I left the hospital and came at my sister residence; but it’s like nobody has time for me. Every day the Chief of Staff (of the AFL) will tell me different thing. They told me that they are waiting for medical report. I have my family and children, I feel like committing this suicide and let me just be gone one time”.
“I cannot even do anything for myself; I normally have to call my kids to clean me in the bathroom, wipe my skin and do things for me, because my fingers cannot strengthen. It is nearly one year now since this thing happened to me and I am still sitting here. I can’t lie on my chest because, it can hurt me. I can’t even stress my hands good, because they are numbed. Since I came from the hospital, this my left foot is always swollen”.
“The army does not have time for me; nobody taking their time to even come to me; even the Minister of National Defense since he met me at the hospital, he has not come to visit me at my house to see how best I am coming on; even the Chief of Staff. Nobody is telling me anything”.– George Kaifa, An Aggrieved Sergeant of the Armed Forces of Liberia
For sometimes now, Sergeant Kaifa has been complaining about alleged abandonment from hierarchies of both the Ministry of National Defense and the AFL.
He claimed that though Defense Minister Daniel Ziankhan and AFL Chief of Staff, General Prince Johnson visited him at the JFK, both men are yet to pay a visit to him at his residence as a sign of solidarity or concern.
“The army does not have time for me; nobody taking their time to even come to me; even the Minister of National Defense since he met me at the hospital, he has not come to visit me at my house to see how best I am coming on; even the Chief of Staff. Nobody is telling me anything”.
Sergeant Kaifa disclosed that only a medic from the AFL has been consistent in visiting his home to dress his wounds regularly.
He maintained that despite his ailing condition, nothing exact is being provided by authorities of the Ministry and the AFL presently to support him and his family members.
“The only ration I am receiving from the AFL now is my ration and salary. This is not even enough for me and my family. I have three living children and I am paying for this apartment I am in here. My children have to go to school, but up to now, I am sitting one place in this problem”.
“I really want to commit this suicide and let the army just come and see what they can do for my family or children. I think this is what they want to happen”.
Sergeant Kaifa claimed that though medical doctors have recommended the conduct of advance surgeries abroad, the Liberian government continues to drag to ensure that he is taking out of the country.
He pointed out that the consistent “waiting for doctor report” song being sung by AFL authorities continue to worsen his health condition.
“Every hierarchy of the Ministry knows about what happened to me, but as a Sergeant of the AFL, I am still here in this kind of condition. My family told them that my salary can’t enable me to take care of my family and they should increase it. But they said, they will see what to do”.
Sergeant Kaifa further expressed disappointment over the prolong delay by the government to ensure that he leaves Liberia for advance medical treatment.
He said it is more frustrating to learn that two top senior government officials who fell ill were speedily taken abroad for advance treatment barely 24 hours after they felt sick, while he remains indoors for nearly a year now nursing injuries and feeling severe pains.
“I feel very disappointed as a first class citizen who took my time and loyalty to serve the Liberian people. This thing happened to me, I can’t even be taken out of the country, but they are taking other government officials from here to seek medical treatment out of the country. I feel very much bad”.
His assertions come in the wake of the treatment of Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor and Public Works Minister Mobutu Nyenpan out of the country.
The Liberian government shouldered the transportation cost and medical bills of the two senior government officials who are reportedly being treated in Ghana.
Meanwhile, Sergeant Kaifa is appealing to the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), President George Manneh Weah to intervene and compel authorities of the Ministry of National Defense to send him abroad for better treatment.
“I really want the President who is the Commander In Chief to come in or else, I will really commit this suicide than for me to be feeling this pain and suffering for almost one year. He really has to find means to take me from this country for proper treatment because, I feel disappointed as a soldier to be in this condition. People passing by me every day hissing teeth and saying all kinds of words against me; I feel very much bad
Speaking to FrontPage Africa via telephone, Commanding Officer of the AFL Health Services, Joseph Kowo, disclosed that a large family meeting was sometimes ago held between Sergeant Kaifa and his family members along with a visiting Surgeon from the United States at one of the army barracks outside Monrovia.
He disclosed that at the meeting, it was recommended that a reconstructive surgery be conducted by the surgeon in various stages in Liberia, but Sergeant Kaifa allegedlyrefused because he has a “mindset” to travel out of the country for treatment.
Commanding Officer Kowo pointed out that a medical advice was also given by the visiting American surgeon for one of the nine fingers of the ailing AFL soldier to be cut off, but Sergeant Kaifa also allegedly refused.
“Kaifa and his whole family came to the EBK Barracks and they met with the surgeon who is a collaborator to the military. His hands are deformed and scars are on his skin and his situation is not something that is life threatening”.
“The surgeon said he needs multiple surgeries at stages, but he refused because he already has a mindset to leave the country. The surgeon came with all the dressing materials to do the work. The surgeon requested for one of his fingers to be cut because it is stopping the other fingers from moving; but he refused again”.
Commanding Officer Kowo pointed out that despite the situation, an estimated cost for Sergeant Kaifa stay in India for advance medical treatment has been forwarded to the office of the Chief of Staff of the AFL, General Prince Johnson.
“We took his photos and sent it to hospitals in Ghana and India. Since he still wants to travel, I did a cost estimate and forwarded it to the Chief of Staff. The cost for India came around US$41, 000 plus. Government is working around raising funds for him to travel”.
He denied accusation that Sergeant Kaifa has been abandoned by the authorities of the AFL, but clarified that another destination apart from India remains on the list if government provides the money for the ailing soldier to seek advance treatment.
“When this money is approved, we need to find somewhere else for Kaifa to travel because; the Coronavirus is raging hell in India. I feel that this soldier does not want to get well. The America you want to go and one of its best is here, why do you want to still go to America if the work can be done here. The Chief of Staff has been very much supportive of this soldier since the incident”.