CDC-CoP ringleaders indicted for July 26 violence
By Lincoln G. Peters
The ringleaders of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change – Council of Patriots (CDC – CoP) have been indicted by jurors in Monrovia for their alleged roles in brutalizing protesting students of the University of Liberia (UL).
The CDC-CoP indicted members are Ben B. Togbah, Abdurrahman Barry, Aaron K. Chea, Foday N. Massaquoi, Jushua S. Karrr, Pokar S. Roberts, Kendrick C. Pelenah and others to be identified.
The indictment alleges that the defendants committed criminal attempts to commit murder, aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy, felony of second degree.
The indictees are accused of brutalizing UL-based Students Unification Party (SUP) members outside the United States Embassy near Monrovia during the celebration of Liberia’s 175th Independence Day.
While the official Independence Day indoor program was being held far from where SUP members had gathered to stage a ‘Fix The Country’ protest against President George Manneh Weah’s regime, the CDC – CoP members allegedly located the students and waged a bloody attack.
Several students were badly wounded in the attack. Student protester Christopher Sisulu Sivili Walters who apparently sustained the most severe wounds was stripped naked during live coverage of the incident and his video went viral on social media.
He has since been taken out of Liberia for medical attention.
On Monday, 15 August 2022, the Grand Jury for Montserrado County through the Criminal Court ‘A’ indicted the accused CDC-CoP executive member Ben B. Togbah and his accomplices in connection to the incident.
According to the indictment, on July 26, some students of UL gathered before the foothold of the Benson Street side of the U.S. Embassy to protest under the banner “Fix the Country.”
The indictment revealed that while the students were encamped on Benson Street side of the Embassy, purportedly to present their petition to the American government through its Embassy, the defendants emerged within the same vicinity to provide a counter-protest.
The indictment says the defendants emerged under the banner, ‘President Weah is fixing the country,’ and at the same time thanking the president for the level of work in the country.
The indictment established that the defendants had earlier organized the self-styled group, directly or indirectly planned and executed the counter-protest “reasonably believing” to counter the planned students’ protest.
The indictment further states that the rampaging CDC-CoP protesters went after the SUP protesters into the nearby communities and captured one of SUP protesters, in person of student Christopher Sisulu Sivili Walters.
It says the defendants stripped Sivili naked and tortured him, thereby causing him to bleed profusely from his nose and mouth.
The indictment explained that the defendants have no affirmative defense and acted in concert when they conspired to carry out the criminal act.
It added that the act of the defendants is contrary to the penal law.