Armed Forces of Liberia Promises Not to Harm Peaceful, Law-abiding Citizens amid State of Emergency
MONROVIA – As coronavirus deaths and cases rapidly increase on a daily basis in Liberia, soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) are leading the state of emergency operations declared by President George Manneh Weah to contain the spread of the virus across the country.
In the latest situation report released by the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), about five persons have died of COVID-19 since the emergence of the virus in the country.
The report disclosed the outbreak of 11 new confirmed cases which were reported on the 10th from Montserrado County.
“Cumulatively, forty-eight (48) confirmed cases including five deaths have been recorded with ten health workers. One of the confirmed cases is imported and 47 were locally transmitted. The age range among confirmed cases is 8 to 74 years with median age 42 years”.
According to the report, about 889 contacts including 129 health workers have been documented, while a total of 445 (50%) contacts have completed 14 days since exposure.
It can be recalled that President George Manneh Weah recently declared a state of emergency to help curb the spread of the coronavirus across the country.
“By the Authority granted to me under Articles 85, 86, 87, and 88 of the Liberian Constitution, and after due consultation with the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, as required by law, I, George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, hereby declare a State of Emergency, to exist in and throughout the Republic of Liberia, for a period of three (3) weeks, renewable until the threat to Liberia from the Covid-19 virus no longer exists”.
“I further announce, under this State of Emergency, that all 15 counties in the Republic of Liberia are hereby quarantined from 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 10, 2020, until further notice. Movements between counties are strictly prohibited. No person shall be permitted to enter or leave or in any way cross the borders of any county into any other county, except for Montserrado County and Margibi County which are quarantined as a single unit”.
“I have ordered the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia and the Chairman of the National Joint Security to enforce this stay-home policy beginning as of the effective date. Further measures will be imposed from time to time under this State of Emergency”.
In a statement issued in Monrovia on Friday, the Chief of Staff of the AFL, Major General Prince C. Johnson, III, disclosed that the Commander-In-Chief of the AFL, President Weah, has ordered him (Johnson) to “assist the civil authority to enforce the stay home order”.
The AFL will also ensure that throughout this period of the state of emergency, residents may leave home only for essential journeys for reasons of health and food, which should be restricted to your local community only, and be limited to a single person per household for a maximum of one hour.
The soldiers will exempt persons who are designated as essential staff in government offices, banks, supermarkets, and other business establishments such as hotels, petrol stations, and health facilities to travel directly to work and return directly home, and ensure that all commercial activities are to be closed no later than 3:00 p.m.
While enforcing the President’s mandate, AFL soldiers will make sure that all non-essential businesses and government offices remain closed, with the exception of essential businesses, including health facilities and a few key government offices, such as the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Central Bank of Liberia, the National Port Authority, the Liberia Revenue Authority, the Monrovia City Corporation, and the Liberia Broadcasting System, and accredited media, where only a skeleton staff will be given passes to work as directed by the President.
They will also exempt companies that are engaged into production, distribution, and marketing of food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, and medicine; environmental and sanitation activities; members of the security forces assigned to lawful duties; essential staffs of electricity, water, telecommunications, banking, and hotels, and the staff of fuel stations during the course of their operations.
In all other counties not under this stay at home order, the AFL will compel residents to stay within their respective local communities until otherwise ordered.
“The Armed-Forces of Liberia will strictly adhere to the directives. Our troops will be deployed with the mandate as: “Fighting COVID-19 in Liberia – A Necessity for All” the statement issued by General Johnson maintains.
It adds: “In the conduct of this all important duty, Armed Forces of Liberia as a force for good in collaboration with other security agencies, under the command of the Chief of Staff, AFL, will never harm its peaceful and law-abiding citizens. However, we are under obligation to enforce the stay home directives as ordered by the President of Liberia”.
So far, there has been no report of AFL soldiers’ misconduct since they were deployed to enforce the directives from President Weah.