Shaki Kamara, the 16-year- old boy who was reportedly shot during the raid on West Point Wednesday by the Liberian Natioal Police and the Armed Forces of Liberia, died last night at the Redemption Hospital, without receiving any treatment.
When Shaki’s sister, sent by her mother, Ms. Eva Nah, went to the Redemption Hospital to find her brother, she found him lying dead on the floor in a pool of blood, without having received any medical attention since the Wednesday morning when he was reportedly shot.
The family said Shaki had first been taken to the J. F. Kennedy Medical Center in Sinkor, where he was refused treatment. They then took him to other hospitals, who also refused to treat him.
He was finally accepted at Redemption, where he lay in his pains and bleeding until he died.
His mother, Eva Nah, said she has sent her son to buy tea and bread in the morning. It was while returning that he was caught up in the melee in West Point Wednesday morning, when he was shot in both legs.
The Daily Observer reliably learned that another person was reportedly shot in the stomach on Wednesday morning. The Observer is trying to locate this victim.
Yet, Defense Minister Brownie Samukai in a press conference yesterday, denied that his forces "ever shot protestors" in the quarantined West Point community.
Samukai told a local radio talk show, ‘The Costa Show’, that "no gun was ever fired into the crowd during the West Point standoff.” His denial contradicted Deputy Police Chief for Operations, Abraham Kromah’s assertions that "yes there was shooting but the police (LNP) is not responsible."
Kromah confirmed to Sky FM Thursday, August 21, that “someone was allegedly shot but we are investigating.”
Samukai then said injuries to the two persons were caused by a "barbwire posted at the entrance of the township around the garbage bucket for security purposes."
"The soldiers were about 40 meters away from the victims and if there were shooting; the damage would have been widespread and severe," the Defense Minister contended. “Do you want those criminals to take guns from our men? If that is done, you people will be the same people that will be there to criticize the Army for not being strong enough.”
“The last time the isolation center was looted, you criticized the security for not being effective. Must we sit and allow things go out of hand so you can criticize us again? No, we will not do that. Only the doctor that attended to them can speak to that, and report from the hospital says there was no bullet wound. We commend our soldiers for their action because no trained soldier will watch his gun being taken away from him by a civilian. We took the necessary steps to restore law and order," the Minister asserted.
The standoff involving the security forces and unarmed civilians has been condemned by local and international organizations.
This brings to two the major incidents since 2011 involving security forces and civilians leading to gun fire.
On November 8, 2011, the eve of the presidential Runoff Election between incumbent Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the standard bearer of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), Winston Tubman, security forces opened fire at protestors leading to the ‘official’ death of one person. During that period, the police director at the time, Marc Amblard, denied shooting anybody at the time. He blamed it on Nigerian UN soldiers, who had been part of the operation.
That created serious conflict between the UN and the Liberian government, forcing President Johnson Sirleaf to retired her Police Chief after a special committee report found him liable for the “mistake” that had been made.