Citizens of Bong County, including human rights groups, are calling on the government of Liberia (GOL) to send to court for immediate prosecution UNMIL soldiers linked to the flogging of a child, Reuben Wennah.
Young Reuben Wennah was on December 4, 2015 allegedly whipped by soldiers of the Bangladeshi contingent serving in the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) assigned to the Central Agricultural Research Institute’s (CARI) water plant because he and two of his friends reportedly took leftover biscuits at the plant.
The citizens, speaking on a Radio Gbarnga phone-in show condemned the beating of the child, and described it as “barbaric, cruel and wicked.”
The citizens said the action exhibited by the UNMIL soldiers particularly during the Christmas month was a complete violation of universal human rights and the rights of the child.
Police accounts quoted the boy as saying since the biscuits were left on the vehicle, he and his friends thought the soldiers were no longer interested in them. When Reuben took the biscuits, three of the UNMIL soldiers allegedly grabbed him and whipped him until he was unconscious. His friends escaped fearing being the next targets.
According to police investigations the boy was rescued from the scene by passersby after spending hours on the ground because of the severity of his punishment. He, however, did not explain his ordeal to his rescuers or his parents until he fell seriously ill and was rushed to the Phebe Hospital, where he narrated his plight to health workers.
Young Reuben Wennah is currently receiving treatment at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center as recommended by medical authorities at Phebe Hospital.
Human rights advocate Attorney James K. Saybay has condemned the actions of the UNMIL soldiers, describing it as devilish. He has also joined citizens calling for the government of Liberia to prosecute the soldiers involved.
According to a press release, the allegation is being investigated by UNMIL, which is also appealing for calm as it strives to arrive at an appropriate redress.