An overnight shooting which engulfed Sasstown Community on Sunday was as though a large scale fighting had erupted between military actors from opposing sides, according to residents.
The sounds of guns were so sporadic that residents in the area fled their homes under the cover of darkness, shortly before midnight on Sunday, August 7.
By daybreak the following morning, the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) had dispatched a squad of counterinsurgency unit to the ‘troubled spot’ and coordinated joint security operations with Liberia National Police officers who were earlier deployed to the area.
It was reported that a late-night insurgency involving an unidentified helicopter had entered Liberian territory, prompting a manhunt for those who reportedly carried out the shooting along the Monrovia/Bomi highway in Western Liberia.
Based on the reports, Defense Minister Brownie J. Samukai, Jr. told the Daily Observer that the country’s joint security forces were in firm control of that, and any, situation.
“There is no need to panic because the reported shooting incident was being investigated by the joint security forces,” Minister Samukai assured the public.
He described the report of ‘sporadic shooting’ and the landing of an unknown helicopter on Liberian soil as “scheme of wildcat campaign of speculation, which has no grain of truth to instill fear in the minds of anybody due to the fact that we are on top of every security situation.”
He, however, explained that a male villager and his two children had earlier discovered an unspecified quantity of spent-shells, which he claimed might have been left in the bush by fighters of the country’s warring factions during the 14 years of civil war.
Meanwhile, Daily Observer reporter, who visited Sasstown yesterday upon hearing the report, said calm was restored to the community immediately after the security forces arrived.
“They arrived in their numbers and went in search of the shooter, but returned and said there was nothing serious and that we should go about our normal activities,” Boima Perry, a resident said of the security forces.
Mr. Perry said on Sunday night, residents did not see any strange movement of people in town prior to the shooting incident.
Surprisingly, he said by 9:00 p.m., while residents were preparing to go to bed, a “very large gun sound” took over the entire town, but we did not know which way the sound came from, and also who carried it out and for what reason.
“Right now, we don’t know who shot the gun, therefore, we are afraid of the next course of action,” he said.
The incident took place about 9:00 p.m. Sunday night, according to eyewitnesses.
Up to press time last night, the security forces did not make any arrests, but did confirm there was shooting in the town. The Defense Ministry said that several shots were fired from a pistol, which was later found in a nearby bush. No further explanation was given.
But an eyewitness told this newspaper in the town that an unidentified gunman carried out the shooting, but that was only in the air.
Some of the residents also denied ever hearing of any shooting in the town as their kinsmen had claimed.
Our investigation continues.