Police Inspector General Chris Massaquoi has warned the public of more rigid security measures on the part of the police in the wake of the declaration of a “State of Emergency.”
Addressing a news conference in Monrovia on Monday, the police authority warned the public against staging protests and setting up road blocks in the streets.
“The police will react differently in this period to deal with any persons wanting to cause problems in the streets. Protest on streets corners about bodies in the streets on Ebola-related matters must be stopped. Those caught in such practices, when arrested, will be dealt with harshly.
“The President said in her address that certain rights will be suspended and we ask the public to take notice,” Director Massaquoi asserted.
In recent times, the Police have received and responded to several reports of mob violence in and around Monrovia and elsewhere in the country. To date, the Police have rescued five accused persons from such incidents. In perpetrating this mob violence, roadblocks are erected, which obstruct the free flow of traffic, including ambulances taking Ebola suspects and other patients to the Hospital.
In order to combat and contain the public menace, and in the face of the escalation of the Ebola causatives, the Police announced that it has developed a special operational plan codenamed “Operation Rescue 1 & 2,” whose functions are: (a) to provide protection for health workers and ambulances going to collect patients and dead bodies; (b) to protect the Ministry of Health cremation team; and (c) Containment: to erect necessary barricades (roadblocks) and checkpoints restricting movements (human and vehicular) to communities declared Ebola-infected.
Commenting on allegation of poisoning wells and other water sources in the country, Director Massaquoi stated that evidences gathered by the police established that there has been no case of poisoning in the four incidents investigated by police.
Making a direct reference to a particular situation in Kpor Town, Margibi County, Director Massaquoi indicated that Edwin Dagbe, aged 27, was arrested and later transferred to the RIA Police detail for safety reasons. According to the police chief, water samples tested showed that “it lacked information on the percentage of concentration of formaldehyde which would render the water either contaminated (poisoned) or not.
It also showed that the water taken from this well had a pH of 6.52 at 24.4 degree centigrade, while normal water pH is reported to be between 6.5 to 8.5.”
“The test further revealed that aldehyde (an element of formaldehyde) is usually found in water sources closer to swamps and sandy areas.
“Also, the test results indicated that all water has its own chemical substances; these substances were, however, not mentioned.
Finally, the test results also mentioned a low concentration of aldehyde, thereby rendering the water nonlethal and harmless for human consumption.”
The Police Chief concluded, “We did not have sufficient evidence to support the suspicion of the community dwellers that Mr. Dagbe attempted to poison or contaminate their well.”
No mention was made, however, of the Schieffelin incident or the New Georgia incident or any others around the country. Besides, the fact that Mr. Dagbe did not succeed in poisoning the well does not mean he did not attempt it.