Following battle with police
Three persons are feared dead following a raid in Duala, Bushrod Island by officers of the joint security force including the Anti-robbery unit of the Liberia National Police (LNP) on alleged drug hideouts.
The incident occurred Tuesday, 23 November 2021, with conflicting accounts emerging from eyewitnesses and the LNP. Authorities are yet to confirm casualties as a result of the incident. But police said a joint security operation on Tuesday led to the raiding of ghettos in the affected areas.
However, some eyewitnesses claimed that those feared dead were not disadvantaged youth or zogoes.
The Anti-robbery unit, Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency, and the Monrovia City Police took part in the operation early Tuesday.
Following the joint security operation, a young man dressed in a white shirt and blue jeans was seen lying unconscious in a pool of blood around the Beer Factory company in Duala with a deep wound seen on the right side of his chest.
Around the Techno House in Duala, a man believed to be a motorcyclist was found lying unconscious in a pool of blood with a deep wound on his side.
Between the Doe Community and Kuioway Junction on Bushrod Island where motorcycles are usually packed, another young man dressed in yellow and blue Arsenal jersey and white Real Madrid treasure was found lying unconscious with blood oozing from his head.
This paper cannot tell whether the deep wounds on the bodies of the unconscious men were bullet wounds, but eyewitnesses said there were gun fires during the raid.
The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health and the Liberia National Red Cross were seen collecting the bodies of the three unconscious men and putting them in ambulances from the ministry and the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital (JFK).
The situation in the commercial hub of Duala caused serious traffic congestion Tuesday and the closure of several businesses before police later restored calm in the area.
Businessmen and women and other private citizens ran for their lives during the incident.
Speaking to journalists at the scene, James Bateh, a disadvantaged youth who managed to escape from the security forces said he and his friends were at their usual sleeping place in the swamp popularly known as “China” when they heard gun sounds which made them flee for their lives.
“When we heard the gun sound that Anti-robbery and DEA along with the City Police have come to arrest us, we ran away for our lives because the firing sound was too heavy. We never even had [a] gun to shoot back at them,” Bateh claimed.
He said they will make sure that President George Manneh Weah is voted out in the next election. He said even if they are engaged in bad habits, they should not be treated like slaves in their own country.
Also speaking, Melvina Toe, a female resident of the Duala Community alleged that she watched the incident, claiming that the man who was seen wearing a white shirt and lying unconscious was allegedly shot by the Anti-robbery unit of the LNP.
“The guy who they killed in the white shirt is my friend’s boyfriend. He just came to visit us from Logan Town and while going home, that is how he got caught up in the shooting and he got killed by the police,” Melvina Toe alleged.
She continued that another man who had a motorbike was also allegedly shot on his side by the police.
Following the incident, the Liberia National Police issued a press statement Tuesday, 23 November, saying alleged criminals opened fire on members of the joint security that were carrying out the ridding process, thereby leaving one officer of the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) Police injured.
Police Spokesman H. Moses Carter also said about three stores were looted during the incident and three persons who were unconscious have been taken to the JFK. he said the status of the unconscious persons will be announced anytime soon.
According to him, the total number of persons arrested by police are 14 and they are currently at Police Headquarters in connection to the standoff.
The police said they have restored calm on Bushrod Island and have made arrests of a few alleged criminals.
The LNP said other potential trouble makers were still being pursued by its team of responding officers.
Speaking in a news conference at the LNP headquarters in Monrovia, Police Spokesman H. Mose Carter said citizens and residents traveling towards Bushrod Island can now move freely without fear of being intimidated.
He said an assessment of human and material casualties is being conducted and the public will be duly informed before the close of day.
Carter explained that the Police, Liberia Immigration Service, Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Monrovia City Corporation carried out joint raiding of ghettos on the Bushrod Island on Tuesday.
The Police Spokesman appreciated all citizens who assisted with useful information that led to the cessation of the tension which left citizens in a state of fear and panic.
“The public can again be assured of our continuous resilience in protecting the peace and stability and will do all it takes to make the Country safe for all Liberians during this Christmas Period,” Carter said.