Unconfirmed reports reaching the Independent Eye News (IEN), from the Konobo Statutory District in Grand Gedeh County, say citizens of the District are undergoing what amounts to a hell fire, from the Government security forces.
The reports point out that all males residents with ages ranging from ten (10) years up, are being arbitrarily rounded up by government security forces, on suspicion of being involved in the reported fighting in la Cote d’lvoire.
The reports say the security believe that since Konobo District is directly bordering la Cote d’lvoire, almost all young boys around the above stated ages are being treated as possible suspects in the Ivorian crisis.
In another related development, the Cyrus Cooper Memorial Elementary School located in Gbagba Ville, in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County was seized by the Government security forces for what was described as “SECURITY OPERATION.”
The security reportedly seized the school’s campus from the County and school administration and occupied it from Wednesday, June 13, through Tuesday, June 19, thereby depriving the students from going to school for an entire week.
According to the reports when the security forces stormed Zwedru, the political capital of Grand Gedeh County, they approached the school’s administration to use the campus for their central point (C.P), but the school’s administration reportedly refused.
The Government security authority then located the Tchien District’s Education Office, Steven Collins, who was reportedly pressurized to accompany the security to the school, effectively seizing the school’s campus and using it for an entire week (June 13-19).
All efforts by the IEN’s Correspondent in Zwedru, to get confirmation from Mr. Bestman R. Charpy, Grand Gedeh County’s Chief Education Officer (CEO), or the Tchien District Education Officer, Steven Collins, as well as the School’s Principal, Liverpool Parchepo, were unsuccessful.
It may be recalled that the Independent Eye News (IEN) reported a story captioned, “MARTIAL LAW IN GRAND GEDEH?” in its Tuesday, June 19 edition in which Grand Gedeh County’s Gbarzon District #1 Rep. Alex Chersia Grant, accused the Johnson-Sirleaf Administration.
During the June 17 news conference at his Capitol office, Rep. Grant, never minced his words, when he accused the Liberian Government of “targeting Grand Gedeans.”
He emphasized that “citizens of Grand Gedeh County were extremely concerned about the listing and subsequent declaration of ten individuals, eight of whom are of the Krahn ethnic group, of Grand Gedeh, as “MOST WANTED.” while the rest of the two are Ivorian.”
Rep. Grant complained that “the government has created a perception that citizens of my county masterminded the recent attacks in la Cote d’ lvoire,”warning that “accusations and listings of citizens from my county without proper investigation and evidence could destroy the faith of Grand Gedeans in both the security and justice systems of Liberia.”
According to him, the other two individuals who were is Monrovia when the government’s brosadcast were being made, turned themselves in upon hearing their names being read on national radio and were found to be innocent and granted clearances by the police.
The lawmaker maintains, that “such monumental error could be applied to the others who were accused of been involved in the cross border attacks.” Rep. Grant’s news conference was followed by a position statement from the Grand Gedeh Legislative Caucus a few days later.
The Independent Eye New (IEN), Correspondent in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County, in the south-eastern region of the west African Republic of Liberia said what amounted to Marshall law, has been in full force and effect in the county ever since.
Although the Government of Liberia (GOL), has not formally declared marshal law in the county, our Correspondent observed that peaceful Grand Gedeans are being subjected to arbitrary arrests and administered corporal punishment such as “pumping tires” and doing “push-ups” at night.
This is being done by the Government security forces in observance of an undeclared curfew, imposed by the Government as a result, the citizens’ freedom of movement has been severely curtailed.
Our Correspondent maintains that Grand Gedeans are being arbitrarily searched by Government security forces, without warrants in violation of their rights as guaranteed under Article XIII (A) of the Liberian Constitution, which guarantees freedom of Movement.
“Grand Gedeans are now living in constant fear for their lives as everybody has to carry out their daily routine and be indoors by 5:00 pm because by 6pm, the undeclared curfew gets into full force and effect.” Our Correspondent narrated.
Also speaking out on behalf of the County’s Legislative Caucus’ was its Vice Chairman, Junior Senator, Alphonso Gaye, who vehemently condemned and rejected the actions of the government’s security forces in the county.
The caucus described as harassment and infringement on the rights of peaceful citizens in Grand Gedeh County. The Gedeh Legislative Caucus termed the Johnson-Sirleaf Administration’s attempts “as designed to deprive peaceful citizens who are struggling survival.”
The Caucus says “the situation in the county is disappointing and highly regrettable, as it brings back memories of the fourteen year carnage, which resulted into uncountable number of deaths and wanton destruction of public and private property.”
The Gedeh Caucus recalled that the destruction of lives and properties during the Liberian war, could cause anyone to imagine the sufferings citizens of the neighboring country are being subjected to and calls on the Government of Liberia, to use its professional expertise to bring those responsible for the attacks in Ivory Coast to justice.
The caucus then urged the Government of Liberia to exercise caution in identifying the alleged perpetrators and not allow public sentiments and witch-hunt on the basis of collective guilt to overshadow the confidence reposed in the men and women in arms.
The Caucus’s Vice Chairman Gaye, who is also a Member of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s ruling Unity Party, complained that residents of the county being constantly harassed and intimidated by their own government’s security forces.
The Grand Gedeh Legislative Caucus’ Vice Chairman confirmed all the Independent Eye News Correspondent’s reports emanating from the county which among others, speak of the Government security forces in the county, subjecting citizens to an authorized curfew at night.
The Vice Chairman further confirmed during the Caucus’s news conference at his capitol office, that peaceful citizens in the county are placed under arrest on a daily basis. “Their liberty as guaranteed by the constitution is denied and they are made to roll on the bare ground.”
The Grand Gedeh Legislative Caucus’ Vice Chairman specifically pin pointed a case in point as a result of this unbearable situation in the county citing a case in which a vehicle belonging to an implementing partner of a British Organization, OXFAM, was illegally seized by Government security forces.
The vehicles, which was seized from the Amenue Cooperative and Management of the Palm Farm in Zleh Town, Grand Gedeh County, was used for what was referred to as “SECURITY OPERATIONS.” It was used from Thursday, June 14 through Sunday, June17.
The Gedeh Legislative Caucus’ Vice Chairman stressed that, “Gone are those days when Liberia was partitioned by warring factions which subjected the entire country and its people to inhumane treatment.”
The caucus’ concerns came in the wake of the clearing of two out of the ten individuals namely Abednogo Zweh and Ofori Diah of any involvement in the murder of United Nations troops from the Niger contingent in la cote d’voire, after they turned themselves into Liberian authorities.
After they turn themselves in to the National Security Agency (NSA), the two men were reportedly investigated, processed and subsequently issued clearances which read:
“To whom this may concern, this is to make clear to all security personnel that Mr. Abednego Zleh is under the protection of the Liberian National Police and should be accorded freedom of Movement within the borders of the republic of Liberia. Please contact this number for any clarification; 0880800106, Commissioner of Police for intelligent.“ The clearances concluded.
Howbeit, the Gedeh Legislative Caucus says the Police needs to come out and explain to the Liberian people the meaning of the clearences issued to the ‘MOST WANTED” men.
“Information gathered suggests that ”the good intention of the Government is being executed wrongly and corrective measures must be taken.” The caucus demanded.
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