Liberia: Law Group Complains Police IG Sudue to US Embassy, Others for Reportedly “Recruiting 150 Ruling Party’s Thugs”

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Monrovia – A law group, Public Interest Law Advocacy Center (PILAC), has formally written the US Ambassador, Mr. Michel A. McCathy, informing him of an alleged training of 150 ruling party’s thugs at the Liberia National Police Training Academy in Paynesville.

Cllr. Aloysius Toe’s PILAC told the US diplomat in a November 12th letter, “We write to inform you and express our deep concern about ongoing training of unknown men at the Police Training Academy. We’ve been informed that the Inspector General (IG) of the Liberia National Police (LNP), Patrick Sudue, in cahoots with ruling party officials, clandestinely and unlawfully recruited 150 able-bodied men for enlistment in the LNP, in violation of the laws governing recruitment. We understand the action of the IG was unilateral, and did not involve the leadership of the LNP, nor approved by the Policy Management Board, as required by law. We also understand that the men were not vetted, screened for criminal records, and were not selected from an existing list of already-vetted 8,000 applicants currently in LNP’s database.”

PILAC further said in its letter to the US Ambassador, “Shockingly, it is our understanding that the 150 individuals comprise armed robbers, ex-combatants and violent militants from the ruling party. Our information is that they were recruited from three militia groups—‘Sabu Unit’, ‘Kuba Unit’, and ‘Moscow Empire’; groups noted for carrying out bloody attacks against opposition figures and innocent civilians to instill fear and cause death. Notable among these recruits are Liberia’s most feared armed robbers including, ‘Shaka Vaye’ from Paynesville, ‘Man Devil’ from Fiamah Community, ‘Gabon’ and ‘Effort’ from Old Road Community, and ‘Mustapha’ from Central Monrovia.”

Cllr. Toe’s PILAC further stated that they have been informed that IG Sudue has already placed these men on police payroll, paid each of them US$160 for the month of October, gave them police uniforms and handcuffs, assigned them regular police ID numbers reserved for enlisted police officers, and, on October 10, 2020 dispatched them to the Police Training Academy for training, to prepare them to become a brutal police unit  intended to be used against the opposition, peaceful protesters, and critics of government

“We are concerned because, the unilateral action of the IG, if not averted, has the propensity to institutionalize and legitimize terror and violence within law enforcement, weaken the rule of law, undermine our democracy, threaten the stability of Liberia, and leads to massive and widespread human rights abuses. It is unacceptable for the IG to place hardcore criminals, domestic terrorists and publicly known armed robbers in police uniforms for the sole purpose of targeting political dissent and free speech,” the law group asserts.

They reminded the ambassador and others that the US Government, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), other UN agencies, European partners invested enormous financial and technical resources to professionalize the LNP, and institutionalize a non-partisan police force.

“This unlawful action of the IG undermines that effort. PILAC therefore requests you to demand the Liberian Government to abort the training; and we further request the US Government to push the UN to commission a special investigation into the activities of the CDC-led government in organizing and financing domestic terrorists groups in Liberia, under the guise of ‘militant groups’ loyal to the ruling party.”

Also, PILAC has written the IG himself about their concerns of the training of the men.

In their letter to him, PILAC said they have learnt that the IG, in cahoots 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 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.

None of the three individuals linked to this alleged training has confirmed such nor deny this information.

“May we remind you that your actions violate Sections 22.93 (b) i. 3 of the Liberian National Police Act of 2016, and further violate 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 Weah on August 21, 2018. The legal provisions cited above forbid 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 that 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. In the current case, none of these steps was followed. 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. We give notice that we will draw the attention of the International Community on your attempt to enlist members of domestic terrorist groups (recommended by ruling party chairman) into the LNP; and we will institute court proceeding against you, should you fail to heed to our demands.”

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