27 June 2019

Liberia: U.S. Maintains Travel Alert

Despite calm in Kingsville#7:

The United States Embassy near Monrovia maintains travel alert issued here Monday, June 24, 2019 to American citizens as a result of a violent protest near Fifteen Gate community along the Monrovia-Kakata highway that led to shooting and several injuries, one critical, despite calm restored to the area.

Aggrieved residents calling for justice in the alleged murder of two children weeks ago for suspected ritual activities erected roadblocks Monday on the highway at Kingsville#7, one mile from the Fifteen Gate community that connects the capital, Monrovia to rest of the countryside.

Armed Police dispatched to the scene met resistance from stone-throwing civilians and responded with live bullets, hitting a 17-year-old lad, Abraham Tomey, who has been officially confirmed dead at a local hospital.

"U.S. government personnel including Peace Corps Volunteers and staff have been advised to avoid the area. All U.S. citizens are advised to avoid the area of the demonstration and to monitor local media to remain informed of developments as they occur. The U.S. Embassy will issue additional alerts if there are changes to the list of recommended actions below.

Actions to Take:

- Avoid the areas of the demonstrations.

- Exercise caution if unexpectedly in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests.

- Monitor local media for updates.

- Keep a low profile", an alert issued by the embassy near Monrovia reads.

Police spokesman Moses Carter initially could not be reached for comment as his mobile was switched off, but local radio stations quoted the police spokesman as saying he would have responded subsequently.

This paper gathers that live bullets were allegedly fired at protesters near the Fifteen Gate community along the Monrovia-Kakata highway, leaving one reported dead, while several others were allegedly injured.

Later on Monday the United States Embassy near Monrovia issued a warning to all American citizens here to avoid the Monrovia-Kakata highway for safety sake.

"A demonstration is taking place today, Monday, June 24, 2019, near the Fifteen Gate community on the Monrovia-Kakata highway. Protesters are calling for justice in the alleged murder of two children some weeks ago. The protesters have reportedly blocked the Monrovia-Ganta Highway at Kingsville #7, which is one mile from the Fifteen Gate community," the U.S. Embassy says."There are reports of persons injured by gunfire, including reports of one fatality," the US Embassy notes.

The statement further warns that "U.S. government personnel including Peace Corps Volunteers and staff have been advised to avoid the area."

The Embassy advises all U.S. citizens to avoid the area of the demonstration and to monitor local media to remain informed of developments as they occur.

The embassy says it will issue additional alerts if there are changes to the list of recommended actions.

The incident reportedly occurred when angry residents from the Kingsville #7 gathered in mass at the early morning hours, demanding justice in the alleged murder of two children, who had gone missing.

Accordingly, the kids were later found dead with some body parts missing, a situation that provoked angry residents to block the road, denying free flow of vehicles in and out of Monrovia.

According to some protesters, after they have blocked the main road during the morning hours, officers of the Liberia National Police arrived at the scene and cleared the roadblock.

But the protesters later reconstructed the roadblock. It was at this point that officers allegedly began to run after protesters, allegedly opening fire against the fleeing protesters.

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