7 May 2019

Liberia: Citizens Flee Country Ahead of Protest

Bong — Some panicking citizens in Danenah, Nawai and Malanai in Zota District of Bong County are crossing into neighboring Guinea following the pronouncement of a planned protest due June 7 in Liberia.

Critics and opposition of President George Manneh Weah's government are planning to stage protest next month over alleged corruption here and the bad state of the economy, among other concerns.

Our correspondent says the fleeing citizens, many of whom are women and children, have expressed fear that there will be violence and destruction during the planned protest.

The three Liberian towns from which citizens have fled so far are situated in a bordering region with the Republic of Guinea.

Our Bong County correspondent who recently visited the region says the citizens are living in total fear since they heard about the protest and some of them have already crossed to Guinea.

Danenah which is not far from Guinea, is observed to now be left with more men because husbands appear to be sending their wives and children to Guinea, our correspondent adds.

Daneneh's Town Chief NaniGba Pamore told this paper that they have heard about the protest and have decided to leave the Country before things go offhand.

"We are tired with war, we been fighting war for a very long time and this news that we are hearing about a protest, we don't want to stay here and die like what happened during 1990," 60 - year - old Pamore told this paper.Liberia's past civil conflict witnessed the killings of an estimated 250,000 victims and destruction of properties worth millions of dollars.

"One of the main reasons that we are leaving is that, some of the people are saying that they will make sure President Weah steps down and I think only violence will make that to happen. So it is important that we leave this Country in defense of our lives," he adds.

John Flamah, another resident of the town says he will make sure his family cross the border to Guinea before June 7, 2019.

"For me, I have not sent my family yet. I will keep exerting efforts so that my wife and three children will go to Guinea then I will stay here to be looking for their food until things become better," Mr. Flamah told journalists in sorrowful tone.

According to him, this is not the kind of Liberia they thought of living in, adding, "we have suffered 14 years of civil war in this Country and nothing we have benefitted. But any attempt to bring chaos in this Country as we're hearing, will not be fine for us".

At the same time, Nowai Kerkulah, a widow from Malanai says she and her five children will leave the Country hopefully by 15 May.When quizzed about where they will lodge, Mrs. Kerkulah says the only thing she thinks about for now is leaving the Country to go to Guinea.

"I'M only thinking about going to Guinea with my children, when God helps us we go there, I think we will find place to live like me and my late husband did during the 1994 war," she says.

Malanai is one of the many towns in Electoral District 4 that experienced massacre during the 1994 civil war in Liberia.Report says more than 20 persons were allegedly slaughtered in the town by the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) rebels during the civil war.

One of the organizers of the June 7 protest, Montserrado County Rep. Yekeh Koluba has stated that the protest will not be violent as speculated.Rep. Kobulah says in an effort to maintain the peace and stability, they have written the Ministry of Justice to grant them permit.

"Anyone who tells you that the June 7 Protest will bring war, tell the person that it is a lie. We are tired with war and myself I am tired fighting war," Kolubah says.

He explains that protesters want to constructively engage the government through the protest which he thinks will make President Weah to adhere to their concerns as citizens.

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