Liberia: Ex-Rebel Generals Score First Casualty

Police officers flogged an unarmed civilian until he became unconscious.

-- Ahead of June 7 protest

An unarmed supporter of Montserrado County District#10 Representative, Yekeh Kolubah, was brutally beaten and left unconscious on Wednesday, June 5, 2919 at the Headquarters of the Liberia National Police (LNP) on Capitol Hill, on the alleged order from a former rebel commander, Augustine Nagbe, alias "General Power."

Many who witnessed yesterday's incident have described it as the ex-rebel fighters' first causality ahead of the planned June 7 "peaceful protest."

General Power was the spokesperson of former rebels drawn from multiple fighting groups now defunct, along with some disbanded soldiers of the old Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) that recently ordered Rep. Kolubah to turn himself over to them. The former ex-rebels had demanded Rep. Kolubah's surrender for his accusation against them, alleging that the ex-rebel generals "collected money from Presidential Affairs Minister Nathaniel F. McGill to go after critics of President George Weah and his administration."

General Power at the time continued, "The former rebel generals have given Rep. Kolubah, himself a former rebel general of the erstwhile National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), a 72-hour ultimatum to turn himself over" to the office of the ex-rebel generals, threatening to forcefully arrest him should he fail to show up peacefully."

Rep. Kolubah is a member of the Council of Patriots (CoP), organizers of the June 7 "Save the State" Protest.

Wednesday's incident ensued following the reported arrest of Rep. Kolubah by heavily armed police officers at his Old Road Sinkor residence, who brought him to the LNP headquarters on Capitol Hill to provide information regarding a complaint filed against him by people believed to be family members of a man identified as Emmanuel Freeman. Mr. Freeman's family had alleged that Rep. Kolubah's bodyguards flogged Freeman unmercifully and accused the lawmaker of "attempted murder".

After noticing that Rep. Kolubah's interrogation has lasted for hours and without any assurance that police would release the lawmaker any time soon, it was when his supporters stormed the LNP headquarters in demand of Kolubah's release.

The supporters later assembled in front of the police headquarters in an attempt to know the status of the lawmaker, whom they claimed was illegally arrested.

After hours of intense tussle between the armed officers and the unarmed supporters of Rep. Kolubah, the police was successful to push the protesters out of the main street, Capitol bye-pass, to ensure free movement of vehicles and pedestrians.

By 10:30 a.m., the situation had turned chaotic to the point where the ex-rebel General Power arrived in a black jeep with some well-armed officers of the Police Emergency Response Unit (ERU) and immediately ordered the ERU officers to manhandle anyone found "loitering."

Immediately after General Power arrived and issued the order, he was publicly heard in a handset radio conversation with a senior police officer, Robert Saah (109) to dislodge the protesters from the LNP headquarters.

Following the order, it was when General Power then instructed the armed officers to tear gas the Kolubah supporters, an order which the LNP successfully implemented, while the some of the supporters retaliated by stone-throwing at the officers.

The situation, according to multiple eyewitnesses, took an acute turn when General Power himself arrested one of Kolubah's supporters, who was seated in a parked pick-up that drove some of the his colleagues to the LNP headquarters.

One account said General Power was visibly seen hitting on the neck and back of the unarmed civilian, before turning him over to the LNP officers, who "unmercifully flogged the man until he become unconscious."

General Power (far right, in vest and green trousers) commanded LNP officers to flog an unarmed civilian in Monrovia.

Shorty afterward, General Power reportedly ordered the officers to drag their unconscious victim and jail him; an order the LNP fully implemented for the former rebel fighter.

Up to the publication of this account last night, the medical status of the unidentified victim remains unknown, but our investigation continues.

Government 'invites' ex-rebel fighters

In its Wednesday edition, this newspaper reported that the government had reported invited some former rebel fighters to Monrovia in an attempt to "beef up" security operations to quell the planned June 7 "peaceful protest" in case the situation gets out-of-hand.

The Daily Observer said it has obtained multiple reports, which confirmed the presence of an influx of ex-rebel fighters in Monrovia as the clock ticks towards June 7.

The newspaper named some of the ex-rebel fighters as General Kemoh, aka K-1 of the defunct rebel Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), Mark Guan, one of Benjamin Yeaten's bodyguards, Yon Gblorgbay, a once feared rebel commander of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), Yon Goanue, and E-Mehn or Nuahn, alias Idi Amin, etc.

Those reportedly from Nimba and other rural parts are said to be at a location in Paynesville, outside Monrovia and are being well taken care by an unnamed lawmaker from the county with the approval of the government.

Further, according to sources, a prominent member of the Legislature has been actively encouraging those ex-rebel fighters in Nimba County to come to Monrovia and stand by for any possible action on the side of the government as in the case of General Power as witnessed by the public in yesterday's incident in the courtyard of the LNP.

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