Justice Minister: ‘Sasstown Shooting No Threat to Peace’

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The recent shooting incident in Sasstown, along the Bomi Highway that ignited great concern among people across Liberia, does not pose any threat to Liberia’s security, Justice Minister Frederick Cherue has said, releasing results of investigations into the incident.

Addressing a regular press briefing of the Ministry of Information on Capitol Hill in Monrovia yesterday, Minister Cherue, who is also the Attorney General, said intelligence gathered from the scene of the incident suggests that an unknown individual was on a practicing spree.

Minister Cherue said there was shooting but the motive was unknown and intelligence concluded that someone took a 9-millimeter pistol, along with few bottles for a practice session.

He said it was also discovered that the perpetrator during his practice struck five bottles and broke one and the broken pieces were identified.

“We tore apart the scene in an effort to gather facts and circumstances leading to the incident and there is nothing to scare anyone in Bomi, Cape Mount or the country,” Cherue added.

Shortly around 9pm on Sunday, August 7, 2016, there were reports of shooting in Sasstown, on Bomi highway.

Thereafter, the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) dispatched a squad of counter insurgency unit to the troubled spot and coordinated joint security operations with officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) who had been earlier deployed to the area.

Meanwhile, Minister Cherue said President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has granted executive clemency to nine prisoners who were held for various offences ranging from criminal to civil violations.

Those pardon included Duawa Jallah (from Gbarpolu County), Comfort Turay (from Lofa County), Abraham Sayon (of Bong County), Abdu Kadii Bong County, Mark Sackor Sinoe County, J. Sor Sinoe County, John S. Tarbeh Grand Gedeh County, Robertson Doe Sinoe County, and Mamie Jawee Montserrado County.

He said granting of the executive pardon is due to recommendation by the ministry to President Sirleaf.

“Prior to the recommendation we observed and examined their conduct which proved that they have been rehabilitated,” he noted. “Prison is intended to correct the wrongs of people while serving their terms.”

Meanwhile, Minister Cherue has promised to ensure that overcrowded prisons are reduced to their normal capacities and described over crowdedness as one of several challenges facing the country’s justice system.

He attributed prison over crowdedness to the imprisonment of people for minor offences like “simple assault, aggravated assault, misapplication of entrusted property and the like.”

Minister Cherue also blamed the wave of jail breaks to the over crowdedness of prisons.

“Some of our prisons built for 100 inmates are now holding over 150 while the Monrovia Central Prison that hosts 300 prisoners is now holding over 1,000 prisoners,” he added

“Prison operation is costing government too much money and we need to help save this cost by reducing the number of inmates at our facilities,” he said.

Chief Justice Francis Korkpor has meanwhile deployed a magisterial court at the Monrovia Central Prison to fast-track the adjudication of civil cases outlined by Minister Cherue.
Justice Korkpor once intimated that only criminals should go to jail, while civil cases are adjudicated in line with legal provisions.

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