Liberia: ‘Treated & Discharged’- Shooting of Deputy Minister of Defense By Presidential Guard Confirmed
Monrovia – Authorities at the Ministry of National Defense have confirmed the non-fatal “accidental” shooting of Mr. T. Olandrus Dickson, Deputy Minister of Defense for Administration by a member of President George Manneh Weah’s Executive Protection Service(EPS).
Responding to a FrontPageAfrica inquiry at the weekend, a senior official at the ministry speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed the shooting but said it was accidental. “With respect to the President’s convoy, a vehicle ran into the president’s motorcade while departing from the Monrovia City Hall after attending a program on Thursday, October 31, 2019.
“I am told he(EPS officer) probably didn’t identify himself and one of President Weah’s EPS officer carrying AK-47, fired multiple shots at the deputy MOD, injuring him in the leg. The bullets were lodged in the leg. He was taken to the JFK. The doctors wanted to remove the bullets but he insisted that he be taken abroad…United States.”An eyewitness, to what authorities are describing as an accidental shooting of Deputy Defense Minster Olandrus Dickson
One of the EPS officers accidentally discharged his weapon on the ground during the incident and some shrapnel went into his thigh. He has been treated and discharged from the JFK medical hospital. That’s the story,” the official noted.
FrontPageAfrica received multiple reports from security sources late Friday about a shooting involving a presidential guard, the president’s motorcade and the shooting of the deputy defense minister.
The incident reportedly happened as the crowd gathered, the deputy MOD who was in the area decided to respond to the scene in an effort to assist.
According to a security officer who was on the scene of the shooting, Deputy Minister Dickson was not recognized by the EPS officer. “I am told he probably didn’t identify himself and one of President Weah’s EPS officer carrying AK-47, fired multiple shots at the deputy MOD, injuring him in the leg. The bullets were lodged in the leg. He was taken to the JFK. The doctors wanted to remove the bullets but he insisted that he be taken abroad…United States.”
Now, it has been confirmed by a MOD official who says the minister has been treated and discharged.
The EPS officer involved in the shooting is said to be one of the new officers recruited by presidential aides with limited or no formal training in VIP protection and the use of AK-47.
EPS Incident Not New
Shooting incident involving the EPS is not new.
On Friday, November 23, 2018, a soldier of the Armed Forces of Liberia was shot by an EPS officer at the SKD Complex, but the victim was sent to hospital and treated of his bullet wounds.
The Chief of Operations and Special Agent Abu Thompson was dismissed for their role shooting incident. The decision was recommended by authorities at the Ministry of Justice after completing its investigations into the manner, and submitted the findings to President George Weah, who approved the recommendations.
At the same time, President Weah approved the suspension of Special Agent Michael Wogbeh, charged for reckless driving, and forwarded him for prosecution. The president also approved the recommendation that four Special Agents, including Owen Dorgar, Varney Massaquoi, Obidiah Topoe, and Ben Dawoyea should also be suspended for one month after which, they would be sent for retraining in VIP (Very Important Persons) protection and firearm management.
On January 10, 2011, during the reign of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, pedestrians were forced to flee as some taxi drivers abandoned their vehicles when a stand-off between officers of the Liberian National Police or LNP and the Executive Protection Service or EPS nearly turned in to a gun battle on Saturday as both LNP and EPS officers pointed long range riffles at one another.
No Punishment Yet for EPS Officer involved
Then Police Director Chris Massaquoi’s vehicle, had reportedly attempted to intrude into the Presidential Convoy headed for the First United Methodist Church on Ashmun Street, when it collided with one of the new EPS vehicles with registration number EPS -70.
Following that incident, President Sirleaf directed that the Command officers of the Presidential Motorcade and the Details of Inspector General of Police be suspended with immediate effect.
The President later constituted an Independent Panel to investigate the matter.
Regarding the latest incident involving the shooting of deputy minister Dickson, FrontPageAfrica has been unable to confirmed whether the EPS officer involved would face any punishment.