Liberia: Boy ‘Dies’ in Army Barracks; AFL Remains Tightlipped


Boy Town Junction, Margibi – Sixteen-year-old Gentle Bryant’s lifeless body was discovered in the Edward Binyan Kesselly (EBK) Military Barracks, on Dec 26, 2022, badly bruised.

Watching the deceased relatives explaining their feelings on Joy FM’s live Facebook feed, the late teenager’s mom narrated that her son Gentle went in the barracks to visit his friend, whose father is army personnel and did not return, but was discovered dead around the lagoon within the enclosure of the barracks.

By Mae Azango, [email protected]

Speaking at a press conference from their home along the Robertsfield highway, where the barracks are also situated, Gentle’s mother said when she called her son’s phone, one Abraham Harris answered and said Gentle was with him but he was very drunk could not come home but he was ok. 

“Minutes later, the same boy told my daughter that Gentle was with him up to midnight but did not go home with him because, according to him, Gentle told him he was still enjoying himself and was not ready to go home, so he left Gentle back at the club and took his phone with him and went home,” she narrated.

According to the aunt, who Gentle was living with, this friend, who Gentle had gone to visit with in the barracks, was once expelled from high school because he was in possession of drugs, so she feared that he (this friend) might have drugged Gentle, and did not want to say it. 

“He told us Gentle mixed drinks and was not to himself. But I asked him if you say Gentle had mixed drinks, and was not to himself, then why you did not carry Gentle to your house until day broke to bring him home? I thought they had drugged him so that I could flush it out as a Medical person but, not knowing he was dead and they did not want to tell us, until I heard one of the other boys in background, telling me to have his sympathy,” she said.

According to her, after hearing that from one of those in the background, she went to the barracks to find out what had happened to her nephew. 

“When I arrived at the barracks, I saw the MPs taking people on his bike one after another to the lagoon. So, I also got on the bike and followed him to where the crowd was gathered and saw my nephew’s lifeless body lying down with his tongue and eyes outside as if he had been strangled to death. There were bruises was all over his body. I heard a female police lady saying there was a foul played,” she narrated.

An uncle of the deceased said the police was not helping them find out what happened to his nephew. According to him, when they went to the Liberia National Police (LNP) headquarters, the officers did not ask Abraham what had transpired the previous night that led to the death of Gentle, neither did they ask him why was he and how did he come to be in possession of the dead boy’s phone.

At the same time the uncle further disclosed that while at the police depot in their area, that Abraham’s father had told them that on the night of the incident, he saw his son charging a phone that kept ringing and he (Abraham) wasn’t answering it.

“So, when he asked why he was not answering the phone, he said his son told him, the phone was for his friend, who had asked him to charge it for him. I then asked the father if his son had told him what had transpired that led to the death of Gentle, his father said his son was not opening up to him,” said the uncle.

Abraham Harris’ father is an army personnel.

“The EBK Barracks is responsible for the death of my nephew. One military officer has not yet come to identify with the family to say sorry; the incident happened on their ground. Not even the father of the boy, who took Gentle to the barracks before his death. I think the army knows about the death of my nephew. We need justice for our nephew. Gentle needs justice; the family needs justice; this community needs justice.”

On what he would do next, Gentle’s uncle said, “If I had my own way, I would set the military barracks ablaze because I am angry.”  

In an effort to get the army side, the AFL’s press and public affairs office said it couldn’t speak on the matter and the only person who can do that is the Army Chief of Staff, Major General Prince C. Johnson, III. General Johnson didn’t answer his phone when he was contacted, neither did he respond to a follow-up text.

When contacted via mobile phone, Deputy Press Officer at the LNP, Lewis Norman, said the investigation is ongoing, and the police couldn’t say much at that moment.