5 October 2017

Liberia: Two Local Journalists Assaulted in Nimba

Karnay Zeanbo, left, sustained injury on head, while his colleague sustained injury from particles of bottle on hand and body

Two local reporters working with Radio Gompa in Nimba County were reportedly flogged over the weekend by men identified as supporters of the opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC) of businessman Alexander B. Cummings.

Reporters Kannay Ziamo and Raily Guanbeh told the Daily Observer that on Thursday, September 28, while conducting a phone-in program in the evening hours, they reportedly received a phone call from one Metrice Gontee (a former staunch supporter of the disbanded National Union of Democratic Progress (NUDP) of Senator Prince Y. Johnson) to visit him (Gontee) to where he was residing around the Toweh Yard Community in Ganta.

Metrice Gontee is one of the campaign leaders of the ANC.

They claimed that shortly after they arrived there, Gontee provided them seat and told them to wait as he had sent someone to a nearby shop to get some drinks for refreshment. According to them, the drinks brought were in two big bottles.

"While we were waiting lecturing, before the drinks could come, Gontee began to castigate the Gio/Dah people of being in the center of the 'troubles' in Nimba," he said.

"Being a Gio man, I took exception to that and told Gontee, I can not sit here while you talk about Gio people in this way, so I am leaving. My friend Guanbeh, concurred with me and we decided to leave, abandoning the drinks," Ziamo explained.

The two journalists explained, while in the process of leaving, one of the accomplices of Metrice Gontee jumped into the argument and began insulting them, especially Kannay, which of course led into a tussle.

"While we were arguing, one of guys, identified as Menwaseh Gwaikolo, who was not part of the argument took big bottle of liquor and smashed it on my head and pieces of the bottle also wounded my friend Raily," said Ziamo, the main victim.

According to Ziamo and Raily, these were supporters of the opposition ANC and they were driven in the yard by a land cruiser, decorated with ANC flyers.

When contacted Mr. Gontee, he confirmed the incident and expressed regret that his accomplice, who was not part of the argument, should break bottle on the journalist's head. Though he did not explain how the conflict began, he denied preaching ethnicity as claimed by the journalists. He rather cautioned the Nimbaians to careful or they will plunge Liberia into another war.

Meanwhile, the police has charged the Menwaseh Gwaikolo, who smashed bottle on Ziamo's head, with "Aggravated Assault" and sent him to the Ganta Magisterial Court for trial.

Authors

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