Public Advocacy Group Alarms Over Zogoes -In the Wake of New Kru Town Tragedy

A Liberian public policy group named and styled, the Public Interest Law and Advocacy Center (PILAC), says it is alarmed by reports of the murder of about 30 people in New Kru Town by individuals believed to be Zogos – a group of criminal gang of drug addicts who live in graveyards and perpetrate dangerous crimes, including murder, armed robbery and rape.

“The situation of Zogos is a national emergency. Too many Liberians have died and sustained life threatening injuries from machetes inflicted on them by Zogos. How many more will have to die and get hurt before we take action as a country? The government must act,” PILAC said in a press release issued Thursday.

The group further called on the Liberian Government to invoke Chapter 44, Subchapter C, Section 41.31 -41.36 of the National Public Health Law and subject every suspected Zogo to compulsory drug test, and if found to be a drug addict, commit him or her to a rehabilitation center for a period not less than one year.

“The Public Health Law provides that any person (including the Liberian Government) who believes that another person is addicted to the use of narcotic may petition a circuit court in a county where the addict resides for an order committing such person for medical and psychiatric treatment.

“If the court is satisfied on the basis of the Petition, that a person is addicted to narcotics, the court shall order him to be examined by a physician to be appointed by the court.

“If from the facts ascertained upon the hearing and the petition and the report of the court appointed physician, the court determines that the person is a narcotic addict, the court shall grant an order certifying such person to any Government hospital or such other treatment facility for narcotic addicts as may be established by the Minister, to be detained therein until he is discharged,” PILAC enjoined.

The purpose of treatment by the Government of a committed narcotic addict, PILAC said, is to secure his or her complete physical withdrawal from reliance on narcotics, and to provide him/her with such psychiatric supervision, medical aid, educational facilities, and vocational training as will tend to effect his rehabilitation and restore him as a normal and effective member of society.

“Between one and and years, if the committed person has recovered from his addiction, he shall be released and placed under outpatient status for ongoing evaluation and treatment.

“PILAC therefore calls on the National Legislature and the President of Liberia to make necessary appropriate budgetary allocations and declare a public site or building for the compulsory encampment of Zogos,” the group declared in the release signed by its Director for Research and Communications, Alieu Kiadii.

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