— Players demand promises made to them during the county meet
The 2018-19 Annual County was touted to be the best ever since the tournament began in 1956 with the involvement of Orange Liberia, but the failure by the Bomi County Sports Association to live up to the promises made to their players and resulted into an event that took place on Wednesday, March 4, left much to be desired.
A group of young men and women claiming to be playing members of the Margibi County soccer and kickball teams blocked Monrovia-Kakata Highway, near the small bridge at the Booker Washington Institute, according to Mr. Mason Saweler, insisting that every vehicle should pay LD1,000.
Mr. Saweler is the president of the Liberia National Handball Association (LNHA), who led the national U-19 female team to play a series of games against teams from Bong, Margibi, and Montserrado counties as a consolation for the team’s inability to have gone by road to Niger for the IHF Zone 3 Handball Tournament.
Saweler told the Daily Observer in a telephone interview yesterday that the young people were adamant on their demands, claiming that Margibi County Sports Association owed them U$250 each.
“They could not see reason as vehicles piled up against each other on Kakata Highway,” Saweler said.
He noted that as the situation deepened, police officers who were called to the scene could not be of no help. “It was a sad scene as police officers who came on the scene just turned out to watch the scene as if it was a movie,” he said.
Saweler added that he did not hear any report of injuries during the commotion but the young people refused even when they were informed that a funeral procession was on its way towards Gbarnga.
“I was afraid for the team I took to Kakata and their counterparts,” Saweler said. “It was a dangerous situation.”
Saweler noted that in the end, a collection of LD1,000 each from the many vehicles stranded was made and at least close to LD6,000 was handed over to the leader of the group.
He said when they suggested to the group to contact the county superintendent’s office with their grievance, a spokesman said that they tried but no one listened to their plea, and therefore they chose to take the law into their hands.
Saweler said the situation lasted for at least three hours and he and his group were able to leave Kakata for Monrovia at 2:00 PM.
There has been no official response to the youth’s action and Saweler said the dangerous part of the event was that even police officers were not prepared enough to bring the situation under control.
“It was a sad story as police officers just stood there as the young people held everyone hostage,” he said.