Liberia: Probe Ordered Into Ruling Partisans Attack on Police Deputy, Trying to Curb Opposition Election Victory Celebration
Rodney D. Sieh, [email protected]
Monrovia – Liberia’s Ministry of Justice has ordered an immediate investigation into the recent attack on the Deputy Inspector General of the Liberia National Police Mr. Marvin Sackor, who came under attack Wednesday after a speech by the Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee riled partisans of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change to raid a by-elections victory celebration of Mr. Abraham Darius Dillon in this week’s Montserrado County Senatorial By-elections.
In a statement released late Friday, the MOJ without naming the city mayor says it categorically condemns and denounces the deteriorating trend of lawlessness in the country heightened by attacks against the persons of police officers. “While the MOU has consistently cautioned the police to respect the rights of the citizenry and refrain from the use of unreasonable force, the recent wave of attacks against the police is unacceptable,” the statement said.
11 Reportedly Wounded
The melee at the headquarters of the Liberty Party reportedly wounded eleven persons.
Mr. Benoni Urey, Chair of the four collaborating political parties, alleged that the police fired live bullets which allegedly resulted into one person being shot in the leg by the riot police officers, who tried to restore calm between the rioters.
While the MOU has consistently cautioned the police to respect the rights of the citizenry and refrain from the use of unreasonable force, the recent wave of attacks against the police is unacceptable.”Statement from the Ministry of Justice
FrontPageAfrica has however gathered that the Deputy Inspector General of Police for Operations, Sackor was allegedly beaten by CDCians based on his intervention that CDC partisans should remain in the premises of the party to avoid a clash with partisans of the Liberty Party who had gone to celebrate the victory of Mr. Dillon. The partisans reportedly refused and marched on to the LP headquarters to disrupt Mr. Dillon’s celebration.
After the raid on the LP headquarters this week, Mr. Urey accused partisans of the CDC for instigating the violence. “We were here at our party headquarters jubilating and merry making when some thugs of the CDC came and started throwing stones and fighting our partisans, when the violence broke out, the riot police came and fired live bullets and some of our people got wounded, 11 of them while one of our partisans got shot in the leg,” he explained.
Accusing Mayor Koijee
The accusations have been bolstered by comments made by an enraged Jefferson Koijee, Mayor of the City of Monrovia, and also head of the ruling party’s youth league, who threatened Wednesday that his party will trade fire for fire with anyone staging protest against the government.
Said Mr. Koijee: “The youth league will protect our democracy, we will be on the front burner, we will lead our people like we led them before. Any day that would be announced here by anyone, we want to say to you that similar day would be announced by us. And wheresoever they are, we would also be there and we would meet in flesh and blood.”
Mr. Koijee explained that the decision has met the consensus of the party’s youth league. “Make no mistake to think that because we bear certain titles or bear certain space in government, that position has taken from us our true identity. What we fought for, we will not sit here as spectators and watch it come under attack. Those who believed that nothing good could ever come under our watch, we want to say moving forward when there is any called demonstration – as lawmakers lead, we want to say in our official capacity, whether you call me mayor or you call me youth chair person, we want to assure the public and the international community that we will be protectors of our democracy, we would lead such forces also.”
Mr. Koijee said no one person or group has monopoly over violence. “Unless we are not in this corridor. We have the capacity to rubble the peace of this country.”
Although Police spokesman Mr. Moses Carter rubbished the claims by Mr. Benoni Urey that shooting occurred during the clashes between partisans of the CDC and the opposition collaborating parties, some observers are beginning to draw comparison to an attack on the District No. 15 headquarters of Telia Urey at the weekend during which no arrests were made by the LNP.
The MOJ says it views with disdain recent attacks against the persons of the Deputy Inspector General of Police for Operations, Marvin Sackor, while in the process of separating stone throwing supporters of the Collaborating Opposition Political parties and the Coalition for Democratic Change, during the violence which ensured on Wednesday, July 31, 2019.
The MOJ warns that anyone attacking the police and/or inciting individuals to attack the police will be arrested and duly prosecuted. “Consistent with the above, the MOJ has ordered the Liberia National Police to launch an immediate investigation into the violent incident of Wednesday, July 31, 2019, including attacks on the person of Deputy Inspector General Sackor. All Parties and person and persons of interest are urged to cooperate with the investigation.”
Physical Attack on Coleman
In a related development, the MOJ also says it has taken cognizance of a complaint of threats, physical attack and felonious restraint file by the Director General of the National Bureau of Concessions, Hon. Gregory O.W. Coleman. The MOJ has directed the Liberia National Police to investigate the incident and report its findings the soonest.
Mr. Coleman was at the center of a major storm which escalated into a physical altercation with two of his deputies, who are said to be die-hard members of the ruling party.
The NBC boss had to be smuggled out of his office through the backdoor by way of a rarely-used gate of the compound of the Bureau as the main entrance and exit had been blocked to avoid the attack from his two deputies — Daddy Gibson, Deputy Director General for Administration (DDGA) and Nathaniel Bracewell, Deputy Director General for Concession (DDGC) on the bureau’s 19th street office.
On Friday, President Weah, facing criticisms that he sanctioned the assault on Coleman took a decision to suspend the pair from the NBC.
NBC Pair Suspended Indefinitely
In a statement Friday, the Executive Mansion announced that the President has suspended with immediate effect two deputies at the National Bureau of Concession (NBC) for time indefinite. “Daddy Gibson, Deputy Director General for Administration and Nathaniel Bracewell, Deputy Director General for Concession at the National Bureau of Concession are suspended for Administrative misconduct.”
Their suspension was announced early Friday. Critics are however concerned that the President’s action falling short of a dismissal could trigger more of such actions against others named on a purported blacklist making the rounds on Facebook, Whazzap and in inboxes amongst Liberians both at home and abroad.
The attack on the LP headquarters this week marks the second success incident during a by-election.
District No. 13 Redux
Last November, similar clashes led to several being wounded when supporters of Cornelia Kruah-Togba, representing the tripartite arrangement between Unity Party, Liberty Party and the Alternative National Congress in the District No. 13 By-Elections came under attack from supporters of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change led by Koijee.
Kruah was contesting the District 13 electoral seat on the Liberty Party ticket. She’s the daughter of Liberia’s Post and Telecommunication Minister, Cooper Kruah.
During that melee, Koijee, Representative Solomon George and a team of militants who were to launch the campaign of the CDC candidate, John J. Weah, in Iron Factory, reportedly invaded the camp of Cornelia in Gardnersville where she was also having her campaign activities ongoing, thereby causing commotion.
Ms. Kruah filed a complaint to the LNP and an investigation was reportedly ordered but nothing has been heard of since.
An MOJ official speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak on the matter told FPA Saturday that Kruah did issue a complain but did not present a written one until recently.