4 Liberians Shot in Turkey

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The Liberian Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is seeking explanation from the Turkish Government, following the shooting of four Liberians in Istanbul, Turkey on April 4, 2014.

 The four Liberians were reportedly shot by an unknown gunman. They are Bemore N. Toe, Patience Roberts, Deddeh Simmonds and Blessing Vinton.

Turkey does not have a diplomatic mission representative or an Honorary Consul here in Liberia for now; however, for the Liberian Government to move ahead with the inquiry, it has sent a diplomatic note to Turkish Embassy in Accra, Ghana seeking explanation into the shooting of Liberian citizens there.

Report says the Liberians were shot at a coffee shop located in Sisli Mecediyeko around the Trump Tower in Istanbul.

Information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it has been informed by its diplomatic representative in Turkey, Ambassador-at-Large Dr. Anacleto Salciccia that two of the victims have been discharged from hospital while one of the victims, Deddeh Simmonds completed a minor surgery early Tuesday morning.

Mr. Bemore Toe is also expected to undergo surgery hopefully on Wednesday morning at a local hospital in Istanbul. The Ambassador-at-Large said the Turkish Police has begun an investigation, an attempt to bring the shooter to justice.

Regardless of the absence of Turkish representative to Liberia, the two countries continue to enjoy some level of mutual relationship as manifested by Turkish business establishments and school in Liberia.

Some Turkish entrepreneurs early this year opened a furniture store on 23rd Street in Sinkor.  It can also be recalled that based on the kind gesture of the Turkish Government some Liberian business tycoons including Liberian Business Association president Dee Maxwell Kemayah and renowned Liberian banker and president of the Liberia Chamber of Commerce, Francis A. Dennis, travelled to Turkey last year with others to attend a business meeting there.

From the meeting, some Turkish business entrepreneurs assured their Liberian counterparts of relating to them in business venture especially in the area of Transportation.

The Turkish Light International School is also located in Sinkor, Monrovia and is catering to the education need of Liberians here.  A few years back the school took some Liberian students attending the Light International School to Turkey for visit to gain some experience in that country.

Also there are many Liberian students in Turkey, benefiting from bilateral scholarship learning to return to Liberia to help develop the country.

The shooting incident in Turkey brings fear not only to Liberia as a victim of shooting of its citizens by unknown gunman, but to any other countries which nationals live in that country, considering that it is located in the middle-eastern region characterized by war and violence. 

In an update provided to the Observer by F. Momolu Dorley, a former Daily Observer employee, now living in Istanbul, Turkey, he said when he and others visited the hospitals where the victims are receiving treatment, they (victims) narrated that they have been sitting in a coffee shop – sipping coffee and entertaining themselves with tales just to pass off the day when this one Turkish man entered and engaged the proprietor of the coffee shop in a debate. The Liberians who cannot speak Turkish heard "American" multiple times in the Turkish men’s discussion. In a blink of an eye , the Turkish guy retreated and soon returned with a gun and shot his innocent victims.

According to Momolu, “It is very palpable that Liberia shares many traits with America, especially the flag. The four victims never had anything on them that had to do with Liberia or America.”

Momolu, who speaks and writes Turkish, claimed: “It is now established that the shooter had said ‘Amerikali gormek istemiyor,’ which translates: I do not want to see Americans!”

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