Reports reaching the Daily Observer say that the Pentagon, Headquarters of United States Defense establishment, is investigating Liberia’s Defense Minister Brownie Samukai over the recent shooting in West Point, Monrovia, of unarmed civilians by the US-trained Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL).
US-trained AFL soldiers, while performing her first public engagement since its restructuring had an altercation with defenseless civilians on August 20, 2014, killing one and wounding two others.
According to sources close to the Defense Ministry, Washington is extremely angry about the “unfortunate” situation in Liberia, and called for an immediate probe.
The US is outraged over the shooting because the world’s only real superpower feels that training and procuring of weaponry for the Liberian army was provided by the US people and government, our sources said.
“For about a week now, Minister Samukai had been facing questioning relating to the shooting. He has been answering questions ranging from why such excessive force was used in dislodging the crowd, who gave the order to shoot, why did Samukai give conflicting accounts about the incident from the onset, why was the army deployed in a civilian matter and why the Township was quarantined in the first place.
“He has been facing US investigators about the incident for few days now and is expected back in the country on or after Monday September 8, 2014. Washington is highly disappointed in the army because the army was trained by the US and weapons used in the standoff were provided to Liberia by Washington from the West African state of Senegal.
Assistant Defense Minister for Public Affairs David Dahn declined to comment on issues raised when our reporter placed a call to him yesterday afternoon.
“I have no knowledge on when the Minister left Liberia and I don’t know the intent of his trip. You can come to my office tomorrow and I will give you the information, but I don’t know now,” Dahn declared.
When contacted for in further inquiry, the Information Assistant in the Public Affairs Section of the US Embassy near Monrovia, Robert P. Clarke, Jr., declined to comment.
“The Embassy is closed right now and you can’t get anybody to speak to your concerns. Everybody is off office and no official will take calls on that issue, if even I give you numbers,” Clarke asserted.
The Chairman on the House Committee on Defense and Intelligence, George S. Mulbah, said his Committee is not aware of the information.
“But,” he added, “Liberia is a sovereign state and our army will be investigated by ourselves,” ignoring Washington’s overwhelming support to the army over the years.
“Armies around the world, including the US, are not perfect and when things happen the government concerned takes up the issues. US soldiers that committed crimes in Iraq were prosecuted in the US and not in any other country,” Representative Mulbah pointed out.
The Bong County lawmaker condemned the shooting, adding; “My Committee has communicated with Defense Ministry authorities, calling for a conference as part of the House’s own way of investigating the standoff.”
He noted that the army would investigate and prosecute those liable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
The West Point incident is the army’s first interaction with the public amidst the drawdown process of the United Nations Mission in Liberia, UNMIL.
Before this situation, some AFL soldiers have had personal outbursts with the citizens leading to serious commotion.
In 2012, AFL officer Mccquinson Emmanuel stabbed Perry Togba, a motorcyclist, for demanding a balance LD$10 transport fare after the cyclist had dropped him and his fiancée.
That situation led Gbarnga City, Bong County to experience a very “chaotic scene on Wednesday, December 12, 2012, when officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) and some “pen-pen” riders( motorcyclists) clashed.