Liberia: Police Inspector General Confirms Officers Fired at Kinjor Demonstrators, Alleges Protestors Used Single Barrel Guns against Police

Police Inspector General Gregory Coleman told reporters that some of his men sustain bullet wounds consistent with wounds of single barrel guns

Monrovia – Within Two days after the reports of loss of lives by state security officers in both Grand Cape Mount County and the Township of Caldwell have raised serious concerns from several individuals in and out of Liberia.

By J.H. Webster Clayeh (0886729972)

At the press conference held at the National Headquarters of the Liberia National Police, Inspector General Col. Gregory Coleman disclosed the death of two protesters from the violence in Grand Cape Mount County who died because of shooting from officers of the Liberia National Police.

A peace protest by aggrieved residents of Golgoma, Grand Cape Mount County on Thursday, February 29, 2024, turned bloody as aggrieved protesters destroyed facilities of Bea Mountain, a mining company operating in the county.

At least two protesters were killed, and dozens injured. The protesters accused the company of bad labor practices. Since the company embarked on expansion last year, it has over four thousand employees and over six thousand contractors, many of whom are natives of the county.

The protesters were reportedly having a peaceful procession near the company’s facility. They had earlier vowed to continue until the management of the company listens to their demands.

A Police officer who was on the scene last Thursday told a local radio station in an interview and denied the allegation that the Police fired at the protesters.

“We did not fire a shot at anybody and even when our men were provoked by the protesters, we still did not retaliate,” he said.

However, addressing journalists over the weekend during his first press conference as Police IG, Col. Coleman under the new government said the protesters wounded nine police officers as some protesters were using single barrel raffles. In return, Col. Coleman said the police retaliated and two protesters were killed.

“As it relate to fire armed being in the protest, it is evidence, you all can go to JFK hospital, I will ask the doctors with the permission of the officers so that their medical records can be release to you all -indicating that their wounds were consistent with pellets of artisanal weapons just as the wounds of those who are deceased are consistent with the amination that we carried,” Police IG said.

Col. Coleman added: “Among the video that the LNP has already released online in real-time, you will see two of the protesters with single barrels, one person trying to reload the single barrel and the other person with the single barrel raffle in his hands. That is a clear indication that, yes, there were weapons in the crowd -from the video footage and consistent with the wounds of the police officers.”

According to him, 23 protesters were arrested. Three females and 20 males, the Inspector of the Liberia National Police.

Investigation to be free of Interference

Also, a day after the incident in Grand Cape Mount County, another incident took place in Caldwell Township between the Power Theft team and residents of the community. A man named Joecephus S. Tukpeh was beaten and allegedly killed by the power theft team.

“Yesterday, there was a situation in the Caldwell area involving the LEC Power Theft and residents. That incident resulted in one loss of life and that is also being investigated. Every member of that power theft team is currently here at the Headquarters of the Liberia National Police and are being investigated,” Col. Coleman said.

At least two locals were reported dead while several others left wounded during the riot

Inspector General of the LNP also assured the public that there is an investigation ongoing regarding both the incidents in Grand Cape Mount and Caldwell and that said investigations will be voided of any form of interference.

‘Absolutely, we have nothing to hide. We want to be as transparent as possible. Hundred percent transparent and we will be releasing information based on these investigations in real-time,” he said.  

Col. Coleman added: “We are asking the public to kindly give us their fullest corporation and try as least to trust us. I understand how trust and legitimacy in the law enforcement body has been degraded over the period of time, but we are going to be as transparent as possible because this is one of the mean ingredients of restoring that trust and legitimacy.

So, these investigations that are ongoing, we will assure you that the Liberia National Police is the dawning of the new day.”

Normalcy Has Been Restored

Adding up, the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police said normalcy has been restored in the Grand Cape Mount County, especially the area where the violence took place.

He furthers that the police are working around the clock with other relevant authorities and the people in the community to bring about peace and reconciliation in that part of the country.

“There had been some sense of normalcy. We are using all our community policing skills to engage the community to ensure that we contain some level of peace and tranquility. Beyond our own engagement, we are working with multi-stakeholders’ platforms to ensure that they use the platform as a means of peace and reconciliation in their community,” Col. Coleman said.

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