26 May 2005

Liberia: Auffrey Murder Was Horrific

Alloycious David — US Ambassador Wants Justice

"Up to now, I am saddened over the terrible murder of John Auffrey, a fine son of America who was dedicated to helping Liberia at a time when the country needed him most," U.S. Ambassador John William Blaney, lamented Wednesday.

Describing the late Auffrey as a "first- rate professional and a key" to the country's success in regard to restructuring the Liberian Army, cautioned Liberians and Americans to remember and not forget the supreme sacrifice Auffrey had made for Liberia.

He said the Restructuring of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) is considered as the integral part of the country's peace process.

Ambassador Blaney spoke at a memorial service in observance of the first anniversary of the gruesome murder of the former Chief of a U.S. Military Team to Liberia, Mr. John Auffrey at the Mamba Point Hotel in Monrovia.

During the service held at his residence, the American Envoy noted that the heinous crime was not only committed against Auffery neither the United States, but Liberians must consider the crime to be committed against them.

Calling on the security apparatus to redouble their efforts to bring all the perpetrators of the murder case to justice, Amb. Blaney stressed "the crime was a horrific violation of Liberian law and that the perpetrators must face justice under the law of Liberia".

John Auffrey, a member of the Peace Corps and Chief of a team to establish the office of Defense Cooperation in Liberia, met his untimely demise at the Mamba Point Hotel on May 24, 2004.

Unknown men allegedly murdered him in cool blood. The Liberia National Police in collaboration with UNMIL Civil Police made several arrests and charged some suspects including former police officers with murder and criminal facilitation leading to the murder of Mr. Auffrey.

Following police preliminary investigation, it was revealed that one Emmanuel Mulbah, commonly known as "Boye T.Moore" who is said to be a member of former President Charles Taylor's disbanded militia group allegedly carried out the act. He is still at large.

Also speaking at the program attended by religious leaders and some government officials, including Defense Minister Daniel Chea, Acting Transitional Chairman Wesley Momo Johnson, assured the people of the United States that those arrested and severing detention would appear in court during the June term of Court.

He said the murder of Auffery is a vivid testimony of the banditry that engulfed Liberia resulting into several thousand deaths and mass displacement.

The Vice Chairman noted that despite the untimely death of the Restructuring Team's leader, the government was committed to the process.

On behalf of the government, Mr. Johnson conveyed heartfelt sympathy to the family and people of the United States for the demise of their son.

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