The Informer (Monrovia)

Liberia: Two Fall Victim to Police Brutality - Perpetrator On the Run

Police in the township of West Point have reportedly brutalized two men, leaving their bodies leaking with blood, and one unconscious.

Police spokesperson Sam Collins has confirmed the brutal handling by personnel of the Police Criminal Investigation Division (CID) of the two men who were rushed to the John F. Kennedy Hospital for treatment and later discharged.

He said authorities of the Liberia National Police (LNP) will meet the victims and families.

Collins said "105" [Chief of CID] said the information has not officially reached his office, but he (Collins) confirmed that the CID personnel involved in the act is now on the run. The CID Officer under the commander ship of Abdullah Massaquoi at the West Point Police Station will be arrested, according to Collins. "The police authority will meet the family of the boys," he said.

The Informer gathered that the incident happened on January 26 when a lady indentified as Quita David accused the duo of stealing her L$5,000, phone and four jeans trousers.

The two, Ibrahim Jalloh and Alpha Barrie, who, along with Quita are all tenants of an 8-rooms house were the alleged theft took place. Quita explained that all other occupants went to school, work and in the market except the accused, making them prime suspects.

"When I returned to the house because I did not get enough market that morning, I met the front and back doors opened; my daughter opened the room door and discovered the entire room was disorganized; I then went and found out that my children school fees of L$5,000, one phone, and four jeans trousers were missing."

She said she immediately drew the attention of the caretaker of the house and all of those were around. "We contacted the accused persons; they said they were not the ones that took the items; I therefore decided to involve the police," Quita narrated.

The CID of the West Point Police Station took charge of the case, she stated; when the CID interrogated them they said they have no knowledge of the items missing from her room."

Suspect Ibrahim Jalloh disclosed that they were told by the CID that they were to be sent to the court for further investigation for which the two agreed. "When he realized that we were willing to go to court, the CID then ordered men outside of the police station to torture my friend and I with very heavy objects, belts as well as slaps, and kicks into our manhood, causing Alpha Barrie to collapse.

One of the authorities at the West Point Police Station, who wants to remain anonymous, said, "The action by the CID was very much regrettable. It was a cruel action carried out by the CID Division."

He said "The way and manner applied by the CID to get answers from the suspects were inhuman and far from professional ethics."

The two suspects were taken to the JFK Hospital, but were reportedly quickly discharged from the hospital due to what medical practitioner termed "healthy condition." But the Secretary General of the Liberia Fulah Business Association (LFBA) disclosed that "I suspect there is some interplay here in this case; the two men that were suffering from pain were put out of the JFK without any justifiable reason."

The victims said no one has contacted them since the incident occurred, when they were taken to the hospital for treatment by officials of the Fula community.

"We were removed from the JFK Hospital where we taken for treatment; it is not that we do not have the money to pay, but for reasons known to the hospital administration, we were asked to leave, even with the appeal that we are not well," Jalloh said. Officials of the JFK have not commented on the allegation.

The Vice Chairman for Operation of the LFBA, Mr. Bella Diallo, for his part said, "the way and manner Fulah citizens are treated is very much alarming and we are appealing to the Government of Liberia, especially the President of the Republic of Liberia, to get involved".

"On countless occasions, the Fulah have been killed," he continued. "In 2009 one Abdullah Diallo was killed in River Gee for alleged ritual purpose, another one in 2011, when one Fantamata Bah was killed in West Point, follow by the killing of two young Fulah boys at the Free Port of Monrovia."

He recalled that between July and August 2012, another Mohammed Diallo was killed when he was tortured to death at the Airport Police Depot.

"There are several instances that do not reach us on time and we just let them go," Diallo lamented.

"People come to tell us to burn down police stations to get government's attention but we refuse because we do not believe in destruction, because we are law-abiding people; government's attention is needed because the police and immigration are seriously molesting the Fulah community."

The Police Authorities, especially Commissioner Christopher Massaquoi is having a complicated task in professionalizing the police force to handle state security as the UN Mission rolls its sleeves to leave the country after a decade-long successful peace mission.

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