Liberia: Heads Roll at Liberia National Police Following Illegal Shootings and Killing

(file photo).

Eleven officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) are facing various administrative measures ranging from dismissals to suspensions and disrobing for their roles in the illegal shootings of live bullets at protesters on 24 June, killing one victim and wounding several others in Kingsville, Montserrado County.

Officers Morris M. Dahn, Emmanuel S. Melikamue, Thompson W. Pobleh, and Josephus M. Lewis have been disrobed to face criminal investigation in relation to the fatal shooting incident; while Police Support Unit (PSU) Team Leader Insp. Vincent C. Abban has been dismissed from the LNP.

Additionally senior officers Walter B. Wray II, Godfrey K. Kollie and WadellKwabo have suspended and referred for leadership training after serving their suspensions.

Further, police authorities say the head of the LNP Women and Children Protection Section (WACPS) assigned at Mount Barclay, Annie S. Wilson will be discharged from the service of the LNP after she and one Philip Peters have been charged for allegedly flogging and injuring 10 - year - old Rose Samyo on 30 June.

In other related incidents of alleged illegal shootings by police officers, the police authorities have subjected three of their senior officers to investigation before the LNP Professional Standard Division (PSD).

Officer Joseph L. Abdullah aces probe for allegedly shooting and killing victim Mohammed Kamara in the Fish Town Community of Sinoe County on 4 July.

The PSD is ordered to also investigate Chief Inspector Humphrey Kahn for illegally discharging his firearm on June 25, 2019, in the St. Michael, New Georgia, Gardnersville while attempting to arrest a stolen motorbike suspect.

Additionally Chief Inspector Peecho F. Worjloh faces investigation for illegally discharging his firearm on June 30, 2019 in the Budget Bureau Community, Capitol Hill, Monrovia.

Deputy Police Inspector General for Administration Col. Sadatu Reeves told the media Monday, 8 July that officers Morris M. Dahn, Emmanuel S. Melikamue, Thompson W. Pobleh and Josephus M. Lewis have been disrobed for discharging their firearms illegally which killed one person and injured three others.

The incident occurred when the officers were responding to a protest that saw angry residents set roadblocks at Kingsville # 7 on the Monrovia to Kakata Highway on 24 June, demanding authorities' action into the mysterious deaths of little Thomas Kollie, aged 10 and little Elijah Porluma, aged 9.

The aggrieved residents said their protest was triggered due to the alleged delay in the police investigation regarding the mysterious deaths of the two children.

Following police investigation into the shooting incident, Col. Reeves says victims SaahSaah, 18, sustained injury on his left foot; Dave Mombo, 18, sustained injury on his left leg tibia; and Abraham Tomay, 17, died from injury sustained on his head.

Additionally, the Col. Reeves narrates that PSU Officer Morris Dahn and Officer Gbornima Barmabia also sustained injuries in the leg and head respectively and were initially treated at C. H. Rennie Hospital in Margibi County before being referred to the John F. Kennedy Medical Center.

"All efforts to dialogue and negotiate with the rioters to have the road blocks removed by responding officers and other prominent citizens including Hon. Lester Binda, Superintendent of the Careysburg Statutory District, and Hon. James Porkpah, Assistant Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Health proved futile," Col. Reeves explains.

She says the Careysburg police were unable to contain the situation, thus, causing C/Supt. Johnson to report the escalation to authority through the appropriate chain of command.

Subsequently, Col Reeves says PSU officers headed by Insp. Vincent C. Abban took charge of the incident, but the rioters started throwing stones according to some by-standers.

The Deputy Police Chief says it was at this time that there was shooting by police officers.

She reveals that a total of six LNP Officers were in possession of firearms, citing Chief Superintendent Philip O. Johnson, Inspector Morris M. Dahn, Sgt. Emmanuel S. Melikamue, Patrolman Thompson Pobleh, Patrolman Ernest M. Kurah and Patrolman Josephus M. Lewis.

According to Col. Reeves, as the result of the escalation of the violence, the Team Leader Insp. Abban who also served as the driver for the team, got in the assigned vehicle, avoided supervision of his officers and drove away from the concentrated area without prior notice to his officers.She says Officer Abban stated that he relinquished his power of supervision to the deputy team leader Morris M. Dahn.

"Thus, the team was left unsupervised which led to an unauthorized discharge of firearms. This action on the part of the Team Leader contravened LNP Duty Manual Chapter 2.1.6.12 ... " she explains.

Madam Reeves informs the public that the justification provided by these four officers that they had to discharge live bullets in the air, claiming that their lives were in danger is a complete contradiction of LNP policies and international standards on the use of firearms by law enforcement officers.

Meanwhile, police have investigated, charged and forwarded to court two suspects, Samuel Sayou and P. Mulbah Yanbakulo "circumstantially with murder" in relation to the deaths of the two kids that sparked the Kingsville bloody protest last month.

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