By Marcus Malayea in Gbarnga, Bong County
Six civilians, including a pregnant woman, of Wainsue Town in Jorquelleh District, Bong County sustained multiple injuries when they were allegedly assaulted by some members of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) assigned at the Camp Tubman Military Barracks in Gbarnga.
The injured are currently at the C. B. Dunbar Maternity Hospital and the Phebe Hospital in Bong County. According to information, the incident occurred when an unnamed female soldier in ‘mufti’ (civilian clothes) who arrived in Wainsue on Friday May 19 to attend a traditional wedding got into a fight with a commercial motorbike rider identified as Lincoln Namakpeah on the same day.
The report said a misunderstanding between the soldier and Namakpeah resulted into the soldier reportedly slapping Namakpeah in the left ear.
Eyewitnesses say on Saturday, May 20 a white jeep with the inscription “EOD AFL Operations” arrived in Wainsue with several uniformed, baton-wielding soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia, who started assaulting anyone they saw in the town, throwing Wainsue into a state of confusion.
During preliminary investigations later, many residents complained that the soldiers also broke into their private homes and made away with their personal belongings, including clothes and cash.
In response, Captain Francis Gbodi of the AFL, after investigations, informed the citizens that the soldiers were in the wrong for assaulting the citizens.
He assured them that the AFL High Command will also investigate the case and the findings will be forwarded to requisite authorities for appropriate action.
Captain Gbodi is a member of the 23rd Infantry Brigade at the Schiefflin Military Barracks.
For his part, Bong County Electoral District #3 Representative George Sylvester Mulbah, who is also Chairman of the Legislative Caucus and the House’s Standing Committee Chairman on National Defense, guaranteed that the AFL soldiers who were involved ‘in the ugly act’ will face the full weight of the law.
Rep. Mulbah told the angry residents in a meeting that he will engage the required authorities on the matter and will restitute whatever properties were damaged and or stolen during the melee.
The preliminary investigations were attended by Bong County Superintendent Selena Polson Mappy, Assistant Superintendent for Development Anthony Sheriff, top brass of the AFL, and local leaders of the county.