19 February 2013

Liberia: AMEZU Student Brutalized

Student politics at the African Methodist-Episcopal Zion University in Monrovia soured last Friday when Jonathan A. Nawah, a sophomore student at AMEZU, was severely brutalized allegedly by rival groups believed to be members of the opposition Zion United for Progressive Impact (ZUPIC) of the school.

As he lay in blood, pains and agony due to injuries sustained from the physical assault, student Jonathan Nawah, a member of the Concerned Students Movement (CSM), told this paper that the school was involved in student elections. During the debate, he said his party performed well. "We managed to tell the students why the other guys from the divide should not be voted," he said.

Following the debate, Nawah claimed, another student from the opposing camp, identified as Eddie Talawalla, walked to him and congratulated him for his brilliant performance at the debate.

Besides admitting his remarkable performance at the debate, he said student Talawalla also issued him a threat, saying, "Comrade, you did well during the debate. But be careful because you will not win."

However, Nawah said he did not take the threat seriously but rather saw it as a mere student threat. Between 11:30 pm on Friday and 12 am Saturday, he said he received strange calls urging him to come to the intersection of Gurley and Benson Streets.

"Right after the debate, one Eddie Talawalla who's serving as Public Relations Officer from the other camp called me. In a moment of joy we hugged each other and he said to me: "Comrade you did extremely well but you have to be careful because, I don't care what happens, we will win this election."

Elaborating on the incident further, Nawah said: "I said fine and I took it as a mere threat. Late that night, my comrades and I went to where we were camping. And then I received this strange call, thinking that it was one of the contestants from my camp. I thought it was one of my comrades who were trying to locate the area."

"I told the chairman that let me go and get the guy to where we're camping. When I got to the area, I checked and I couldn't see anybody around. Right at the moment, and before I could take my step, I received the call again."

"I answered the call and the person asked who is this? I replied him and said you just called me. The person ended the call and dropped the line. After five seconds, a gentleman walked to me and said: "This man is a criminal. Before I could respond, another gentleman slapped my face, and there were others who started beating on me with sticks all over my body. I was helpless and almost died in the process" Nawah narrated.

While he was flogged and mugged by his assaulters, Nawah also explained how he was rescued: "They left me when they heard the police car blowing its siren. The car flashed its lights on them and this is how they fled the area. This is how the police put me in their vehicle and brought me to the hospital."

Nawah also clarified that he's not a contestant in the elections but rather a Public Relations Officer to the "Dream Team", a student political camp on the AMEZU Campus that he (Nawah) represented at the debate.

Student Nawah also claimed abandonment by the School's authority since the incident transpired, a claim the AMEZU authority denies.

"Dear Rev. Toe, we present our compliments and it is with deep regret we write to inform your office that one of our Executive members in person of Jonathan A. Nawah, had been severely beating to the point of death by some students belief to be from the University of Liberia that were hired by George Kennedy through the effort of Eddie Talawalla (PRO) ZUPIC to serve as part of their campaign team" a complaint letter regarding the incident, reportedly written February 16 by J. Emmanuel Brown and Daniel O. Sando, Chairman and Secretary General respectively for the "Dream Team", indicated.

"Presently, as we speak, the victim is undergoing medical treatment in a local hospital in central Monrovia. It is our request that you conduct investigation before asking the Hon. Commissioner to proceed with the elections so as to avoid demonstration by our supporters" the communication further indicated.

But despite the letter written to the school's administration, Nawah said the AMEZU authority did not reach the hospital to ascertain what happened to him until late Sunday afternoon.

The accused, Eddie Talawalla for his part could not be immediately reached for his reaction. Nonetheless, speaking to this paper Sunday, the Dean for Student Affairs of the AMEZU, Rev. Chris Toe, acknowledged receiving a communication from the aggrieved students, but said he could not go to the hospital on time due to other pressing engagements on the school's campus.

"Now that we've identified the young man as our student, we're going to launch an investigation into this matter because we already have a complaint on hand regarding this incident," Dean Toe said.

"Some people have been implicated. Therefore, beginning Monday, February 18, 2013, we're going to launch a full investigation into this matter, and that findings will be presented to the School's President for action," he promised.

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