Ellen’s Protocol Officer in ‘Fistfight’

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Cleopatra Cummings Boima, an Executive Mansion lead protocol officer, was recently involved in a brutal fistfight with a woman in her neighborhood identified as Mafata Dukuly.

The fighting, according to eyewitnesses, was a result of the two women exchanging vulgar language (abuses) as the two of them stereotyped each other’s tribe.

The incident led to severe bodily injuries inflicted on Mafata, which her husband, Yayah Y. Dukuly, a former Executive Mansion employee under the late President Samuel Doe regime described as “unacceptable and a breach of the laws of Liberia.”

Cleopatra’s involvement in a fistfight came just as the dust is settling from the alleged brutal attack against Esther Glain by the former Deputy Director of the Executive Protective Service (EPS), Darlington George.

Cleopatra lives about 120 feet from her fight-mate. “This woman has been terrorizing us in this community. Everyone complains about her. She jumped over her fence and ran over 100 feet to attack my wife in my yard and caused her some injuries,” Mr. Dukuly lamented.

A neighbor in an apartment separating Cleopatra from the Dukulys, who tried to stop the fight, confirmed the incident. “I did everything I could to stop her from fighting Mafata, but to no avail. I saw her jump over her fence, sweating and determined to fight. Look at her barefoot marks here in the sand,” she pointed out.

Another eyewitness said Cleo’s own mother struggled to stop her, but she insisted on fighting Mafata who was busy washing her clothes. “All I did was just sit down there and cry. Cleo could have killed her because Mafata was not prepared. She was bending down washing, not even looking. She brought her house maids to join the fight and they joined,” one account explained.

When contacted, Cleo declined to speak to the press. “Are you here as a pressman? Then I can’t speak. The matter will go to court. So, I can’t speak,” Cleo, as she is affectionately called, told the reporter who visited her residence to interview her on the incident.

When contacted on the matter concerning the attitude of people surrounding the President, Executive Mansion Chief of Protocol, Rufus D. Neufville, could neither comment nor decline to speak on the issue. “I will be in Liberia on Friday,” he said.

The husband of the victim has accused Cleo of “using her power” to breach the due process of law. “Immediately the incident happened, I reported it to the police for their intervention. Our power relations are not the same. So, I relied on the police to protect us. When the police came in to make an arrest, she hid herself in her house. Just as the police left, she ran to the court to file a lawsuit. This is obstruction of due process,” Mr. Dukuly narrated in a frustrated tone.

Mr. Dukuly’s accusation is true, police officers at the Zone 4 police Depot in Gardnersville confirmed. Agartha Juwley is one of the officers handling the case and she confirmed that while the police was in the process of investigating circumstances that led to the fistfight, Cleo ran to the court. “I was among those (police) who went to make an arrest. We did not see her, but I got a call later from the Town Hall (Gardnersville Magisterial Court) that a case had been brought to their attention. I went there to let them know that the particular case was under police investigation. But no one listened to me,” Agartha said in an interview.

Meanwhile, Mr. Dukuly and his wife Mafata are of the strong opinion that after the fight, Cleo used money and position to escape justice.

Recently, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf dismissed her Deputy EPS director, Darlington George for a similar act of gross public misconduct.

An executive mansion statement said George was relieved of his post and directed to report to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) for investigation for assaulting Esther Glain. The mansion also “strongly directed that others involved in the fracas that are not EPS agents should also report to the MOJ.” The office of the president assured the public that it “will not condone such acts of sheer indiscipline and total lack of morals on the part of any member of state security institutions especially the EPS, which has been subjected to thorough psychological reform in order to give a human face to the public service they are entrusted to perform.”

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