FrontPageAfrica (Monrovia)

27 August 2014

Liberia: Shaki 'Shooter' Identified? Soldier 'Had History of Disobedience'

Photo: Emma Smith/Facebook
Emma Smith

Wah is said to have fired two shots into the right leg of the late Kamara, thus splitting apart his sheen and spilling out his marrows. Video evidence of the incident shows that after the shots were fired the boy dropped to the floor yelling and waving his hands in excruciating pain. Some of his friends braved the storm and came closer to him; one of them even picked him up as the foot that had been shot wiggled and blood dripped everywhere. But the army did not stop but kept firing and the guy holding the late Kamara dropped him back on the ground and began to run away.

Monrovia - Armed Forces of Liberia Commanding Officer, Captain Dionysius Quiah led his men to enforce the quarantine of the West Point area, prepared for any eventuality; but little did they know what lay ahead or the measures they would have to take to keep the locals at bay.

Armed Forces of Liberia Commanding Officer, Captain Dionysius Quiah led his men to enforce the quarantine of the West Point area, prepared for any eventuality; but little did they know what lay ahead or the measures they would have to take to keep the locals at bay.

All was calm by morning as the army along with the police and immigration details patrolled and manned the area. Then a young man appeared from inside the Quarantined area with an SOS message from the Commissioner of West Point Miatta Flowers, who was hauled up inside her apartment with her family an ailing grandmother and a young child included.

The joint security moved in to ensure her safe evacuation along with her family that fateful August 20, 2014 morning, but the resistance from the community could be felt as the forces moved in. Commissioner Flowers' evacuation led to stoning by the security forces by community members mainly angry youths in the area. As the stoning became unbearable, the police started to retreat as one officer sustained injury in the eye because a rock had hit him. The army continued to exercise restraint, but as the stoning continued they began to shoot using live bullets.

One soldier shouted: "Where's the man with the 37 millimeter, open it!!" the next thing was another round of firing and a teenage boy dropped to the floor. The young lad the world would later come to know as Shaki Kamara, a 15-year-old who was buried on Tuesday at the Old Road Islamic cemetery.

Alleged Shooter Identified

FrontPageAfrica has gathered that the alleged shooter of the teenager is a Private 1st Class officer named Edwin Wah, assigned with Joint Task Force 1 Monrovia/Montserrado county/West Point. Wah is said to have fired two shots into the right leg of the late Kamara, thus splitting apart his sheen and spilling out his marrows. Video evidence of the incident shows that after the shots were fired the boy dropped to the floor yelling and waving his hands in excruciating pain. Some of his friends braved the storm and came closer to him; one of them even picked him up as the foot that had been shot wiggled and blood dripped everywhere. But the army did not stop but kept firing and the guy holding the late Kamara dropped him back on the ground and began to run away.

One woman yelled in the midst of the firing: "My people y'all will kill us oo." Private Wah may have fired the shot that killed the teenager, but he and his commanding officer, Captain Dionysius Quiah are still in the field in West Point where residents continue to complain of human rights violations daily.

"Every night it's like we are in prison here in this West Point here. By 9, they will tell us to go to bed, they say that curfew and they can be beating us here with batons," said Netty Harmon a resident of West Point currently under quarantine.

Private Wah is allegedly noted for disobedience and agitation with superiors, according to military sources. Kamara died in the late hours of last Wednesday night at the Redemption hospital as a result of the wound he sustained during the clashes.

Hospital sources confirmed gunshot wounds on Kamara but the Chief medical director at the hospital Dr. Mohamed Sankor who could not confirm the cause of death, said the boy was brought in with two others from the riot scene. He said the boy was bleeding profusely when he was brought in to the hospital. Liberia's Defense Minister Brownie Samukai in an apparent somersault from his earlier defense of the army against shooting claims told FrontPageAfrica Monday, that both lethal and non lethal weapons were used in the West Point riots.

"I can tell you that after careful review of all of the photographs and videos from the West Point riots last week, it has been established that both lethal and non lethal weapons were used in the shootings," Minister Samukai said negating earlier claims he made that the late Kamara sustained the injuries due to his tripping on a barbed wire.

Samukai confirmed that a board of inquiry will now be set up to determine what took place last week. "It is on the basis of the new findings and development that the government has decided to set up a board of inquiry," Samukai said.

Last Wednesday, Minister Samukai said Shaki sustained the cut from barbed wire that was used for the blockade. "The wound is a superficial wound, a wound in which the individual was jumping or was running or through the stampede wounded himself," said Samukai.

"Once again, I want to make it very clear, that the Armed Forces of Liberia have not been issued any orders to shoot to kill anybody out there at this point in time. Those soldiers are under orders from this point, no decision on the use of those weapons against any person can be issued without any clear instructions from the commander in chief to the minister of defense and through the chain of command of the Armed forces of Liberia."

The shooting also drew concern from the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) whose head, Ms. Karen Landgren, told a news conference Friday that President Sirleaf had vowed that security forces would not use such deadly force again. She said the deadly Ebola outbreak is having negative repercussions for Liberia.

"We've seen the potential for security to deteriorate, even in the context of health efforts. The government is committed to applying the right measures together with communities, especially Ebola affected communities who need support, who need understanding and who need basic services," said Ms. Landgren. "And UNMIL welcomes the President's statement earlier today that under no circumstances would lethal force be used again."

A second boy from the quarantined community of West Point had a bullet removed from his stomach at the S.D Cooper Clinic in Monrovia on last Friday after his family with the help of the commissioner and health workers rushed him to hospital. The boy identified as Benny-Boy sustained a bullet hole in the stomach during the riot in West Point on Wednesday according to family sources. The boy's family confirmed that a bullet was removed from his belly. His uncle Mr. Arthur Gurley said the boy sustained the injuries during Wednesday's riots and that the boy's condition is not yet stable.

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