4 February 2019

Liberia: Monrovian Radio Station Roots FM Attacked By Armed Men

Center for Media Studies & Peace Building (CEMESP)

Roots FM, a station owned and operated by the widely listened to talk show host Henry Costa was reportedly attacked by three armed men in the early morning hours of January 31, 2019. The attackers held the station's security guard at gun point before destroying a range of broadcast equipment.

The attack followed Costa's January 30 airing of his popular breakfast talk-show, during which he vowed to go off air for one month if opposition political parties fail to peacefully protest to resist President George Weah's unlawful agreements with foreign companies.

Many are of the view that this attack on the station is a reprisal from some angry supporters of the government of Liberia disturbed by series of disclosures about alleged illegal foreign deals, one being with a fishing company from Senegal awarded three hundred fishing licenses for five years. The Senegalese company will be allowed to catch forty thousand tons of fish from Liberia each year.

Regarding the attack on the station, Costa has been live on Facebook saying: "I do not think it is [a] government sanctioned attack, I just believe it is over zealous people in the government that have had too much of me and have decided to destroy my equipment".

The case has been reported to the Liberian National Police for investigation.

The Center for Media studies and Peacebuilding through its Executive Director Malcolm Joseph has condemned the attack and the destruction of broadcast equipment of Roots FM by unscrupulous individuals.

Joseph described the act as a calculated ploy to silence critical voices in Liberia. He then called on the Liberian National Police to hasten the investigation and speedily bring the perpetrators to justice.

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