By: Rancy S. Teewia
With angry Citizens amok yesterday in Maryland County attacking public and individual facilities in demand for justice for the gruesome killing of a Motorcyclist and 12th Grade Student, President George Manneh has imposed Curfew on Maryland County in order to restore calm to the county.
“In order to keep the peace, and to ensure that law and order prevails, a curfew is hereby imposed throughout Maryland County from tomorrow, April 1, 2021, from 6:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. until otherwise ordered. This curfew will be strictly enforced by the police, who will be supported by the Joint Security Forces. All residents of Maryland County are advised to take heed and govern themselves accordingly,” the President said in the statement.
The Curfew was imposed in the wake of reports that citizens comprising of motorcyclists, women, youth and others started their all-out protest in the streets of Pleebo City and thereafter moved the demonstration to Harper City, chanting anti-police slogans in demand of the speedy trial of a suspected they identified Moses Mlarmah.
Allegedly killed by a man identified as Modicious Nyema, the cyclists was reportedly killed at the outskirt of Pleebo by the alleged killer, Moses Mlamah, who told some residents that he had killed an animal, apparently referring to the murdered motorcyclist. When asked what the animal that he killed was, he told residents, “I killed the animal that failed to listen.”
Not understanding what he really meant by the statement, the residents requested that he take them to where he “killed the animal”, and it was on their way to show them the animal that they discovered the body of the cyclist in the pool of blood.
Accordingly, the situation sparked protest by motorcyclists and other residents, mainly women who apprehended the suspected murderer who was put in police custody pending court trial when other protesters, who suspected delay on the part of the police to process suspect to court, decided to take to the streets to the police station the suspected murderer was being detained, demanding the police to expedite the case, which led to the escape of the suspect thereby intensifying the protest action and eventually leading to the arson attacks on the station and residence of Speaker Bhofal Chambers in Pleebo.
The angry throng, another report said, marched throughout the streets of Pleebo in order to draw the attention of authorities, but could be heeded, a situation that is claimed to have triggered the arson attacks on the police station and Dr. Chambers’ residence.
Speaker Chambers, also a Marylander himself, is the third man in the Government of Liberia who was said to have instrumented the dispatch of a contingent of well-armed police in the area to quell the situation.
According to reports monitored from other social media outlets, there has not been any case of destruction of properties that is normally associated with street protests in area. Other reports say the stampeding crowd attack the Harper prison, leading to the escape of an unspecified number of prisoners.
Information gathered have it that pickups fill of armed police were dispatched into the trouble terrain to calm the situation, but the more than estimated 5,000 demonstrators, mainly women, and motorcyclists overwhelmed the armed police.
Meanwhile, former Senator John Bailout is called on the authority of the Liberia National Police (LNP) to dispatch police officers to the county to restore law and order before things go out of hand. He also took issue with the Superintendent who he accused of abandoning the county and deliberately decided to stay away.
Reacting to the situation, President George Manneh Weah also admonished the residents of Maryland County not to take the law into their own hands, but to remain calm, peaceful, and law-abiding, so that the criminal justice system can take its course. “Any grievances should and must be channeled through the legal process, as Government will not condone lawlessness and violence at any time and from anyone,” the President Said.
“I am concerned about the recent developments in Maryland County. I have been informed of the gruesome killing of a young man in Harper City, Maryland County recently,” he asserted.
He intoned that although a suspect was apprehended by the police and incarcerated pending subsequent investigation in accordance with due process of law, the government has seen residents of Harper City, as well as Pleebo City, take to the streets to protest the killing.
“Some of them have engaged in wanton acts of destruction against private property and public facilities, including the burning down of police stations and other Government buildings,” he confirmed.
President Weah assured the people of Maryland County that this killing has claimed the urgent attention of the Government, and will be thoroughly, promptly and fully investigated, and that the perpetrators will face the full weight of the law.