Ganta Tense over Death of Motorcyclist

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Police officers guard their station in Ganta from the angry mob.

Ranking police officer suspect

Tension is brewing in Ganta over the killing of a motorcyclist allegedly by a senior officer of the Liberia National Police, Ganta Detail.

Angry motorcyclists and others in the wake of this incident surrounded the police station early Monday morning and started throwing stones.  The police, in turn, responded by firing in the air to disperse the angry crowd with one person arrested and jailed.

According to an eye witness account, officer Sensee Kowu, Deputy Commander at the Ganta Detail, went into a tussle with a motorcyclist (for reason yet unknown) on Sunday, March 8, 2020, around the Jackie Guest House at about 10 p.m. local time, during which he allegedly choked the motorcyclist, resulted in his death.

“When I got to the scene I saw this police officer and the cyclist arguing with the officer asking the motorcyclist to leave from the Jackie Guest House to go to bed,” said Sam Suah, an eyewitness.

“But, the boy asked him, why should you order me to leave, when I have come to walkabout and also used Jackie WiFi for browsing?” Suah narrated. “While talking from one point to the other, the police officer later choked the boy on his neck; suffocating him to death.”

“After the cyclist died, he grabbed another cyclist, whom he hit with baton and took him to the police station for detention,” Suah explained.

The father of the victim, Paye Seleh, told our reporter that his son, Samuel Seleh, was intentionally beaten to death by Deputy Police Detail Commander Sensee Kowu.

He said when he got to the scene, he heard that his son and two private security officers manning the office of Local Empowerment for Government Inclusion and Transparency (LEGIT), near the Jackie Guest House, were in an argument and the security officers called Sensee, who is said to be owner of the security firm for which the security officers worked.

According to the father, the victim was 18 years old and a 9th-grade student of YMCA in Ganta, but he has been out of school for a period of one year doing commercial motorcycling business.

Angry motorcyclists and others in the wake of the death of their colleague surrounded the police station in Ganta early Monday morning and started throwing stones.

The death of the boy brought Ganta to a standstill from Sunday night until Monday, with the motorcyclists threatening to vandalize the police station in pursuit of the alleged killer, Sensee.

However, the Regional Police Commander for Bong, Lofa and Nimba counties, Morris Temah, has called on the citizens to remain calm; ensuring that the perpetrator, Officer Sensee Kowu, will surely face justice.

He said the Police Professional Standard Division will conduct an investigation in the presence of civil society organizations or human rights groups to ensure public trust.

“He is still within the territorial confines of Liberia and everything will be done to get him to face the full weight of the law,” he said.

Over the last few years, there have been several reports of brutality and killing of civilians, attributed to the Liberia National Police (LNP). In 2018 officer Roosevelt Dehmie of Police Zone-5 shot a motorcyclist dead.  On June 24, 2019, some officers of the LNP opened fired in Kingsville, Montserrado County and killed an innocent civilian and wounded one when citizens blocked a major highway in protest of an alleged ritual killing.

Prior to his assignment as Deputy Commander in Ganta, Officer Sensee Kowu was assigned in Kakata.

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