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Crime & PunishmentGeneralPolitics News

AFL commandant faces police probe

-As army chief opts capital punishment for rape

By Winston W. Parley

Armed Forces of Liberia or AFL commandant, Lieutenant Colonel Nyankun E. Williams faces a police probe in relation to allegations of rape.

Liberia’s Army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Prince Charles Johnson, III, says Col. Williams has been turned over to the Justice Ministry for investigation in relation to the allegation.

“If any of my personnel are called and when investigated and go through that process, if I’m called by the president and advice I will definitely stand by that – capital punishment. Yes!” Gen. Johnson said Thursday, 1 July during a live talk show on OK FM in Monrovia.

Col. Williams was in April this year relieved of his post as Commandant of the Armed Forces Training Command (AFTC) on the allegation of rape and forwarded to the Military Police to face investigation.

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But the Military Police Unit which is the investigative arm of the Armed Forces of Liberia on 17 May informed the public that it had concluded the investigation and submitted its findings to the AFL High Command for further actions.

Subsequently, in May this year, the High Command of the Armed Forces of Liberia said it had submitted to the Minister of National Defense Maj. Gen. Daniel Ziankahn (Rtd), for his review and subsequent actions, the findings of the alleged rape case brought against Col. Williams. 

According to Gen. Johnson, about a week ago, Col. Williams was contacted by his lawyer, adding that the Women and Children Protection Section of the Liberian National Police is conducting the investigation and has spoken to the survivor, her father, and the accused.

Gen. Johnson explained that he still stands by his decision on rape that if anybody is caught in the act of rape, they should face capital punishment.

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“Look, if anybody is caught in the act, I think they have cases of almost ten that led to the death of young girls, those people should definitely face capital punishment. And I still stand by that, I support that and I stand by that,” the Army Chief emphasized.

Gen. Johnson said AFL is about to come up with a release to update the public about where they are so as to avoid speculation, saying the armed forces are zero tolerant when it comes to rape.

The Army Chief contended that armed robbery and rape have been trending here, leading to suggestions that rape be considered a national emergency.

He recalled that during the interim government of the late Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant, Liberia signed a law to respect the human rights of people and do away with capital punishment.

However, he explained that in 2008, former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf brought back the issue of capital punishment against armed robbery, terrorism, and rape when the commission of such crimes led to another person’s death.

He argued that at the time the Sirleaf administration reintroduced capital punishment, there was a lot of international presence in the country including the United Nations Mission in Liberia and the U.S. Military which was conducting training for the Liberian army, among others.

On 26 April 2021, Sergeant Obento Roberts, personnel of the Armed Forces of Liberia serving on the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Mali, formally complained to a service member for alleged sexual intercourse with his (Roberts’) 16 years old daughter.

Based on the allegation, the victim underwent medical examination based on Sgt. Obent Roberts’ instructions and the medical examinations were conducted by a nurse at the sexual gender-based violence (SGBV) One Stop Center at Duport Road. 

A copy of the report was submitted to the AFL Military Police investigators, and it was interpreted for the AFL investigators by the Chief Medical Officer Dr. Zoe Parwon.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/afl-transfers-rape-probe-findings-to-defense-minister/

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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