Liberia: Police Officer Allegedly Shoots Woman to Death in Paynesville

Monrovia — An officer of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) of the Liberia National Police (LNP) has reportedly shot dead a woman in the 72nd Community in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.

The incident occurred during the early morning hours of Saturday, June 27.

Wearing a yellow t-shirt, ragga-blue jeans trouser with a pair of slippers, the victim identified as one Kumba Lansanah-Tamba, a resident of Stephen Tolbert Estate community, was shot dead by officer James Duma, ID, 2720, around the View Point Business Center in the 72nd community minutes after she attended a birthday party in the same vicinity.

The remains of the victim were seen lying in a pool of blood.

Family members, passers-by and onlookers couldn't hold back their tears after taking a glimpse of the corpse of victim Kumba.

Eyewitnesses say the alleged refusal of a fiancee of the suspect only identified as one Salimatu, who is reported to be a relative of Montserrado County Representative Thomas Fallah, prompted the unfortunate incident.

According to eyewitness Asuni Jones, suspect Duma who was spotted without a shirt, and carrying a gun severely beat his fiancee.

"We asked him, but big brother why you beating the woman; he said she is my woman I am carrying her home. and so, we asked him, but how will you be beating your woman blood coming from her nose and rolling all on her face and you still beating her".

"He said anybody put their hand there, I will fire anybody. And so, I dressed back. He came this way and started beating the girl again. We told him that this is our bossman Thomas Fallah's sister here; and this kind of thing is not correct but he couldn't listen".

Jones continued: "The officer took his gun put it behind him and fired-I dressed back and the shot hit another jue (victim). My friend said he was coming on the road to see his woman, but when he got there he said 'oh the man kill my woman oh'. We came to see for ourselves and he said I didn't kill anybody. I was wrestling with my woman"

He narrated that aggrieved youths who trooped on the scene when the news broke out later prevented officer Duma from leaving.

The aggrieved youths also setup road blocks to protest the incident.

According to him, some officers of the anti-robbery unit riding a blue vehicle later took away the suspect.

"The officer said he wanted to carry the girl home, but she said no. And we told him that this girl is our big brother's sister and we will not allow you to carry her home. He threw the woman in the gutter, and we said no-this can't happen here".

"We followed him all the way here. He took his gun, cracked it and fired. One blue anti-robbery pickup took him away. Her death is painful and disgraceful." one eyewitness stated.

"We were begging the officer to allow us to carry the girl home to sleep with her grand mother. But he refused" a neighbor of the victim stated.

"One of my friends called me and said someone was beating my sister. when I came, my sister recognized me and said oh Emmanuel, da me he beating tonight oooo. I said this kind of hour here? Before I could reach there he advanced his gun and fire from the place we were coming from" one Emmanuel who claimed to be the boyfriend of the victim stated.

Emmanuel known suspect James Duma to be in a love affair with his sister Salimatu.

Emmanuel continued: "This is not Duma first time; anytime he is in alcohol that is the time he is ready to play with his gun. In front of me, he has done it more than five times. Ahhh!!! God, this man finish killing my girl ohhh. Who will talk it for me ohhh? I am the one who brought her out."

He pointed out that the suspect was in a fistfight with his sister Salimatu, who is reported to be a relative of Montserrado County Representative Thomas Fallah when he allegedly fired a round that directly killed his girlfriend.

LNP stance

In a statement issued under the signauture of the Spokesperson of the Liberia National Police, the LNP disclosed that it has with immediate effect disrobed officer James Duma and turned him over for investigation for allegedly shooting and killing victim Kumbah Lasanah.

According to the police, officer Duma is currently in the custody of the LNP

"The deceased family and the public can be assured that justice will be served. Police Inspector General, Hon Patrick Sudue extends condolences to the family on behalf of the Liberia National Police and assures the public that no officer under his watch will commit a crime or act unprofessionally and go with impunity".

Meanwhile, IG Sudue has mandated an immediate and timely investigation to ensure that justice is served.

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