The Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) has expressed shock over the violent disturbance that took place in Wainsue, Bong County when personnel of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) from the Camp Tubman Military Barracks in Gbarnga allegedly brutalized civilians of the community on May 19 and 20.
The soldiers’ action was linked to the refusal of a private motorcyclist to take a female soldier to Gbarnga.
The Commission said in a statement that it is troubling and sad for members of the AFL to be accused of brutality during a period when the country is preparing for a democratic leadership transition. The Commission is anticipating that the military as an institution responsible for the protection of the country will ensure that it abides by every human rights standard possible.
The Commission said it is inhumane and totally unacceptable for state security agents to brutalize civilians. The dispatch says that the action of the approximately 15 soldiers left children, women and the elderly beaten and wounded. Medical reports from the Phebe and C.B. Dunbar hospitals put it that two women, who are currently 34 and 36 weeks pregnant, were among the 15 victims identified. Businesses were damaged and normal activities disrupted as the soldiers indiscriminately sought their victims, according to the release.
The INCHR said, however, it welcomes the initiative of Bong County Superintendent Selena Polson Mappy to probe the matter, but called on the authority of the AFL and the Ministry of National Defense to immediately launch a speedy and independent investigation and institute the appropriate disciplinary measures in keeping with military code that will serve to prevent the resurgence of such an ugly act.
It may be recalled that it was reported that a truckload of soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia on the fateful day entered Weinsue Town in Jorquelleh District, the day after an incident involving a female soldier and a motorcyclist, and assaulted civilians at will, forcefully entered their homes and made away with personal effects.
After investigations, Captain Francis Gbodi of the 23rd Infantry Brigade at the Edward Beyan Kessely Military Barracks confirmed that the soldiers were in the wrong for assaulting the citizens.
He assured them that the AFL High Command will also investigate the case and the findings will be forwarded to requisite authorities for appropriate action.