Police Inspector-General Patrick Sudue has assured journalists that they have no need to fear as the government is not interested in harming them.
Inspector Sudue’s assurance comes in the wake of the gruesome murder of Super FM photographer Tyron Browne by unknown person(s) and the ongoing exchange of accusaitons between BBC stringer Jonathan Paye-Layleh and Minister of Information, Eugene Nagbe.
According to Sudue, until facts are established through investigation and arrest, no one should be pointing fingers at anyone, least to mention the government, which is being blamed in some quarters for the journalist’s murder.
His assurance was contained in his statement yesterday at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism’s (MICAT) weekly press briefing on current developments.
He said the media should be confident of the commitment of the Liberia National Police (LNP) to bring the perpetrators of the late Browne’s murder to book.
“We are all hurt by the death of that enterprising journalist, and we extend our heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved family, the media community and the whole country.
“This is so because he was one of us, a Liberian and had all rights, including the right to live and move around without fear of intimidation,” he said.
About businessman George Kailondo, in whose employ Browne worked, Sudue said police will not arrest him (Kailondo) because he has put up a bounty of US$5,000 for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrator(s).
“Mr. Kailondo has accused some officials of government for threatening him over the death of his employee but at the same time he has put up US$5,000 for whoever will break silence on what led to Browne’s death as police continue the investigation on the circumstances that led to the young man’s death,” he said.
He said Mr. Kailondo has the right to decide how to use his money, but it is important to note that no one, including Kailondo, has the right, in the name of freedom of speech, to accuse people or the government of wrongdoing when facts are not available.
“We wait on Kailondo to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that his life is threatened by the government because of the death of his employee. We want facts, not speculations,” he noted.
Inspector Sudue also labeled as ‘complete falsehood’ the statement by former Montserrado County District 8 representative Rufus Neufville that the government is responsible for the death of Browne because he (Browne) had a ‘damaging recording’ against the government.
“It is totally premature for anyone to assume that the government is responsible for the journalist’s death. Let him give facts so our investigation may be fast tracked and save us time and effort to avoid detaining people who might be innocent,” he said. “It is everybody’s business to help the police trace the perpetrator(s) of the crime.”
He said police officers are not politicians to be responding to rumors, speculations and accusations.
Concerning the recent alleged torture of John Davies at Sime Darby Plantation, Sudue said the management of the Malaysian palm company has been invited by the LNP for questioning.
“We invited Ali Kamal Abu Hassan, the general manager of Sime Darby to respond to questions about his company’s role in the circumstances leading to the alleged torture of John Davies, but our call on him coincided with the legislature’s call on him.
“Therefore, we had to allow him to attend to the call of that august body and later come to us and give an explanation on a couple of issues appertaining to the alleged torture of the young man,” he said.