U.S. Regrets West Point Shootout

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The United States government has expressed regrets over the recent shooting at unarmed civilians in West Point community by the US-trained Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) .

US-trained Liberian army early August encountered a standoff with unarmed civilians in the biggest slum community in Monrovia, killing one and wounding two others.

The incident occurred when government abruptly announced the quarantine of the Township over the fear of Ebola spread.

US Ambassador accredited near Monrovia, Madam Deborah Malac, Monday apologized to West Pointers for the ugly incident, describing it as an  “unfortunate incident and we’re sorry that it  happened.”

She attributed the standoff to lack of proper command control that “placed the soldiers in a role that they were not trained to perform.”

The US envoy frowned on shifting the role of the army from military to civil engagement, adding that the lack of clear communication to officers could be one of the factors behind the standoff.

“The military was trained for external conflict, not to perform the role of internal security forces. It’s an unfortunate incident and we’re sorry, but bad things happen even in the US occasionally.

“It’s not an issue of embarrassment or not; it’s an issue of ensuring that everyone knows what the rights of authorities are and who’s in charge,” Amb. Malac asserted.

Days after the West Point shooting, President Johnson Sirleaf constituted a board of inquiry to investigate the situation. Mid last week, the President acknowledged receipt of the inquiry board’s report and recommendations.

In response, Madam Sirleaf issued this statement:  “Accordingly, I am authorizing the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Brigadier General Daniel D. Ziankahn, to take immediate action in line with the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) against those found culpable in keeping with the recommendations of the report. This action underlines my determination to ensure that our military remains responsible and accountable for its action at all times.”

Relative to the Board of Inquiry’s report, Washington disclosed that the report has not been delivered to the foreign mission.

Initially, the US frowned at the deployment of the military to parts of the country in a health emergency period.

The US-diplomat made the disclosure Monday when she paid a courtesy call on Vice President Joseph N. Boakai.

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