President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has directed that the Command officers of the Presidential Motorcade and the Details of Inspector General of Police be suspended with immediate effect.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf issued the directive shortly following a tussle between officers of the Executive Protective Service (EPS) assigned with the Presidential Motorcade and Police officers assigned with Police Director Chris Massaquoi in Monrovia.
According to the release, President Sirleaf will also constitute an Independent Panel that will not comprise any member of the security institutions involved to investigate Saturday’s incident and submit a report to her.
Further actions will be taken following the submission of the Investigative Panel’s report, the release added.
It all began on Saturday, January 9, when a violent fight ensued between two government security details guarding the president, while the funeral service of the late Ambassador Rudolph von Ballmoos was taking place.
The situation, described by many eyewitnesses as “unfortunate,” took place between 10:30 and 11 a.m. at the corner of Broad and Center Streets, Monrovia.
It is not clear what exactly caused the scuffle between the LNP and EPS officers, but an Executive Mansion press release described the incident as merely a “tussle” between “Command officers of both details,” which led to the destruction of vehicles, one of which belongs to Police Director Chris Massaquoi.
The combatants involved officers of the EPS and those of the LNP.
As command officers engaged each other outside on Broad Street, blocking traffic and creating havoc and fear in the public, family and sympathizers of the late Ambassador Rudolf P. von Ballmoos paid their last respects to their fallen relative nearby at the First United Methodist Church on Ashmun Street.