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AFL officers brutalize 15 in Bong

The New Dawn Liberia The New Dawn LiberiaReport reaching the NewDawn says more than 15 civilians including pregnant women and children are undergoing treatment at the C.B Dumber and Phebe Hospitals respectively, after allegedly being flogged severely by officers of the Armed Forces of Liberia or AFL in Bong County.

The NewDawn’s Bong County correspondent says two pregnant women, who were allegedly flogged severely, complain of complications, while other alleged victims brutalized are also undergoing treatment following a row between AFL officers and citizens on Saturday, 20 May in Wainsue Town, Jorquelleh District.

On Saturday, citizens set road blocks in protest against the soldiers’ alleged action and burnt tires, compelling cars leaving from Lofa County to Bong and those heading for Lofa from Bong County to park at the outskirt of the town.

The situation started on Friday, 19 May when an unidentified female officer went into misunderstanding with a male resident of the town and subsequently called four of her army colleagues, who went in the town to augment her strength.

Eyewitnesses say upon arrival in town, one of the officers dressed in ordinary clothes, had attacked and slapped another resident, but got a counter reaction from different resident who is claimed to have equally slapped the officer.

The intensifying situation led the four officers to return to army barracks in Gbarnga for reinforcement, and brought a rather huge number of officers in official AFL vehicle on Saturday, 20 May.

The soldiers reportedly flogged everyone they came across in Wainsue Town and allegedly inflicted wounds on many of the residents.
Many of those allegedly wounded by members of the AFL’s 23rd Infantry Brigade at the Camp Tubman Military Barracks in Gbarnga are admitted at the C.B. Dumbar and Phebe Hospitals, respectively including pregnant women and children.

Following the incident, the Chairman on National Defense at the House of Representatives, also a Bong Representative, George Mulbah, is said to have cast blame on the Commander of the 1st Engineering Company, Captain Theophilus Goll for the situation.

Already, the Executive Officer of the 23rd Infantry Brigade at Camp Schiefflin, Captain Francis Gbodoi, who is said to have headed a team of senior AFL Officers to the county, reportedly expressed sadness over the situation at an inquiry on Sunday, 21 May.

Captain Gbodoi has extended apology to the citizens and promised that sufficient investigation will be conducted into the violence carried out against them by the soldiers.
He adds that the action of the soldiers in inflicting wounds on peaceful citizens will never be encouraged by any senior officer of the AFL.House Committee Chair on National Defense Rep. George Mulbah claims that the fact that Commander Theophilus Goll’s official vehicle was used by his soldiers to travel from Gbarnga to rain havoc on peaceful citizens, clearly shows he is in the know of the situation.

Rep. Mulbah promises to ensure that the matter reaches Defense Minister Brownie Samukai to penalize soldiers, who left their barracks to engage into lawlessness.
The Bong Lawmaker describes the action of the soldiers as a complete rebel behavior, reminding the senior AFL officers at the meeting of how much has been invested in them to get training and support.

Many of the victims complained of destruction of their belongings, including phones, as well as business centers, among others. There were also claims by others that their cash were taken away. Bong County Superintendent Selena Polson Mappy has admonished citizens and residents of Wainsue not to engage in any act of violence while authorities exert efforts to ensure the soldiers are penalized.
By Papa Morris, Bong County-Edited by Winston W. Parley

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