Following the use of deadly force order by the Liberian Government through the Ministry of National Defense, the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) opened gun fire on protesters leaving four persons wounded with a 16-year-old minor getting the worst lethal force on Wednesday, August 20, 2014.
On August 7, 2014 at the Ministry of Information press conference, the AFL was ordered to apply 'deadly force' if necessary in the discharge of their duties during these emergency periods of the country.
Defense Minister Samukai told news men that as part of the State of Emergency declared by the Commander-In-Chief of the AFL, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the soldiers have been mandated to apply force for the safety of health workers in the country.
Minister Samukai stated that the responsibility of the army is clearly defined with specific instruction in line with the rule of engagement.
Samukai also said the AFL is ordered to use non lethal weapon and a deadly force if the need arises.
He said the AFL will not tolerate any form of political interference from any individual or group of persons who are not in the chain of command of the army.
The Defense Boss stressed that the presence of other individuals outside the chain of command of the AFL, the joint security forces and health workers in places where soldiers are deployed will be at their own responsibilities.
When President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf announced the curfew and ordered West Point and Dolo Town quarantined, the soldiers went into action early Wednesday, August 20, 2014 against stone-throwing protesters in the Township of West Point leaving a 16-year-old boy identified as Shaka Kamara severely hit in the leg from bullet wound and subsequently died. The 16-year-old minor has been buried in keeping with Islamic tradition.
However, Minister Samukai said the wound was a result of barbe wire and not gunfire although he did not see the severity of the boy's injury at the time of his statement.
Again the Defense Minister has told the nation and the world that people got injured as a result of live bullets.
Minister Samukai claimed that at the time of his first statement attributing the 16-year-old minor and other victims' injuries to barbe wire was based on the photos he had in his possession.
Prior to the latest statement by Minister Samukai, the Ministry of National Defense issued a press release last Thursday stating that no 'shoot to kill' order was given by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a reaction which contradicts previous and subsequent comments by Minister Samukai.
Meanwhile, President Johnson-Sirleaf has ordered an inquiry into last week's shooting in the Township of West Point. It is not known whether Minister Samukai's comments will be considered during the probe as the soldiers were reportedly implementing the orders from him.