Corporal Collins will be punished in accordance with the uniform code of military justice.
The board of investigation of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) has found Corporal Sieh Collins guilty for a message he recently wrote on his social media account, in which he threatened to kill people who might get on the streets on June 7 to protest in Monrovia and its environs.
Bomi County Senator Sando Johnson and political commentator and talk show host, Henry Pedro Costa, along with a number of other lawmakers are key planners of the June 7 sit-in protest that is expected in Monrovia and its environs.
Authorities at the Ministry of National Defense’s investigation team said in its investigation report that the soldier has contravened Article 92 of the uniform code of military justice (UCMJ), and as such, he will face the consequences of his action.
Collins’ message, which read: “I will never regret killing anybody on the streets of Monrovia to keep this country safe. Remember our children are in school and Liberia is safe. Trust me, I will kill you with happiness,” sent a bad signal in a country still considered as a fragile nation. Thousands, if not hundreds of Cpl. Collins followers on Facebook expressed shock upon seeing the message from him.
“The investigation report held Cpl. Collins liable for contravening the UCMJ Article 92 for failure to obey orders or regulations and General Article 134, which talks about threat communication. Therefore, he has been subjected to the Disciplinary Board of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL),” a press statement signed by Sam Collins, Defense spokesman said.
The Ministry’s press statement added, “the ministry is cautioning personnel of the AFL to use social media with prudence, and avoid acts that will cast aspersion on the image of the AFL and the Ministry of National Defense.”
The Ministry reiterates its commitment that the AFL will continue to exhibit good morals and professionalism in the execution of its national obligations; and that it will not compromise on acts that may undermine the image of the military as a “Force for Good.”
CPl. Collins’ threatening comments reminded many Liberians about how soldiers of the AFL became feared by the population because of the random and senseless killing of unarmed civilians by indisciplined soldiers. Instead of protecting civilians, they committed some of the worst form of atrocities against defenseless populations.
The statement assured the the general public that there will be regular updates on all the subsequent proceedings as the soldier is being further investigated and penalized for his unprofessional conduct.
The nominal mission of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) has historically been to defend and guard the country’s borders, safeguard national security, and protect the population from threat or aggression.
In 1984 the operational elements of the AFL included the Liberian National Guard Brigade and related units, which had a combined strength of approximately 6,300, and the Liberian National Coast Guard’s total complement of about 450 men.
The AFL had long reflected the stratification of the society: officer ranks were dominated by Americo-Liberians, while the enlisted ranks were composed of Liberians of tribal origin. This composition changed gradually in the 1960s and 1970s, and by the time of the coup, the officer corps could no longer be considered an exclusive preserve of Americo-Liberians.
By 1984 it was estimated that approximately 300 of the nearly 500 officers in the AFL had been promoted from the enlisted ranks since the coup.