Duala Marketers in Fear Weeks after Armed Robbery

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Last month a manhunt by the Liberian National Police (LNP) got underway for a masked gunman described as very tall with a sharp nose, who robbed two stores using a silver pistol. There has been no word of the perpetrator’s arrest or any justice for Mr. Adah, 50, who sustained a gunshot wound to his right hand during the robbery.

“Thank God the bullet entered in my palm and exited through the back of my hand,” he stated.

Mr. Adah, a Nigerian national living on Bushrod Island and the owner of Wali Trading Center, can still remember the night he came face to face with a man wearing a black cotton mask and black clothes. In his hand was a loaded pistol and according to Mr. Adah, the unidentified gunman, who was very tall demanded that he hand over all of the money from his shop.

Mr. Adah said he refused and a tussle broke out as he tried to keep the robber from shooting a second round following the first one that was shot in the air.

“He asked me to give him my money. I asked him if he was joking and that’s when he told me “you must want to die,” and fired a warning shot to let me know that his gun was real. When he tried firing at me after he saw I had no intention of giving him my money, we started fighting for the gun and that’s when he pulled the trigger and shot me in my hand,” he added.

At that point, stated Mr. Adah, he had given up the struggle and the attacker cleared his money from behind the counter and walked out of his shop with ease as if nothing had happened. The gun was in plain sight as bystanders watched in fear, unsure of who next would get shot.

The gunman continued his robbing spree which took less than 20 minutes. His next stop led him across the street to a Fullah shop where he took almost every phone and Liberian dollars that the shop had earned.

Since the armed robbery, it has been chaos in terms of shops closing earlier than normal and business people afraid of the darkness that settles over Duala market at night. Before the incident, many business places, marketers and vendors would sell until 10:30 p.m. for the customers who find themselves leaving work late. But now what remains in the Duala Market after 8:00 p.m. is the panic that everyone felt the night Mr. Adah was shot.

“I’ve been losing a lot of money since that night because my market is cold goods like chicken feet and chicken wings. I have to stay out here sometimes until 10 p.m. in order for all to be sold because I do not have money to store it back in a freezer,” stated Ma. Jubeh.

Ma Jubeh is now forced to sell her goods at very low prices once 6:00 p.m. reaches. Before the shooting, she sold her chicken feet at L$40 and her chicken wings at L$50. But for fear that the masked gunman could come back she sells her chicken feet at L$20 and her chicken wings at L$30 after dark.

“By 8:00 p.m., you can’t find me anywhere in the streets. Anything leaves, my family and I usually boil it and sell it in the morning as peppeh feet,” she added.

Ma Jubeh is not the only one living in fear. Taxi drivers, motorcyclists, shop owners and ordinary civilians who have to walk through Duala at night are all in fear of being the next victim. By 10 p.m. Duala is like a ghost town. No one is in sight except those who drink too much alcohol lingering around and looters and other criminals looking to snatch their next hand bag or such.

Anyone having information that could help in the arrest and investigation of the described suspect is asked to contact your nearest police zone. The gunman is described as being 5’10, medium weight, dark skinned, with a pointed nose. He was wearing black pants, boots, a sweater and a ski mask that covered his face except for the nose and eyes.

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