A children party hosted under the auspices of Montserrado County District#10 Representative Yekeh Kolubah on the campus of the Ford-Madden Academy, a private institution along the Smythe Road in Old Road community turned chaotic and bloody Sunday, 20 January, leaving several persons injured, mainly children including an officer of the Police Support Unit (PSU).
According to eyewitnesses, Rep. Kolubah had organized the occasion to entertain children from his district and provide them book bags, copybooks and other school materials when a guy identified as Mohammed Bah arrived on the scene and began videotaping, but was prevented by an aide of the lawmaker only identified as Keita, who allegedly attacked Mohammed, biting off a piece of the victim’s ear. Keita is reportedly under police custody.
But angry crowd suspected to be CDCians instantaneously demanding the living body of Keita to maim him to death, retaliated with hails of stones from every direction, wounding a PSU officer and creating a serious stampede that left several others, including some of the children reportedly sustaining injuries.
The violence that ensued disrupted the occasion as residents, most of them parents, including bystanders ran helter-skelter to rescue their children and for their own lives.
In the midst of the violence, Rep. Kolubah claims Police Inspector General Col Patrick Sudue informed him that President George Manneh Weah had instructed the Police to arrest only the lawmaker’s private security, and not alleged CDCians who were at the protest.
He says the Police arrested is his personal aide assigned to him at the Capitol. According to the District#10 lawmaker, he spent thousands of dollars for the children party, but the event was disrupted as a result of the violence.He also claims that he called the Police IG more than 20 times to report the situation, but he did not show up.
Besides, Yekeh, himself a former police officer, adds that he then called 105, a senior police authority, more than 20 times in the presence of Journalist J. Korvar Beyan, but the police allegedly refused to go to his rescue until the people in the violence moved to his house.
The lawmaker continues that he will tell his colleagues to invite Col. Sudue to answer why he only takes instruction from the President.He accuses the Liberia National Police (LNP) of being a partisan force, and that Director Sudue has become private security to President Weah.
Rep. Kolubah explains that the violence was allegedly planned because those involved were the same people who held placards along the Smyther Road including the community Chairman, chanting “Yekeh must go.”
He confirms that a police officer was wounded in the violence, but those who allegedly wounded the officer were not arrested, except his private security.
However, Police Chief Patrick Sudue in an interview via mobile phone with the New Dawn Sunday evening, terms Kolubah’s claims as a malicious lie. He challenges Kolubah to provide proof of having conversation about the President, saying he would resign if the lawmakers produce evidence of such interaction with him.
Col. Sudue wonders why would the President wants Kolubah arrested, saying, “It’s just a lie.”Hhe says Kolubah was yelling when the violence erupted, and he could not show his location easily.
“I told him to calm down,” the police chief notes, adding that “Kolubah was under attack, on Smythe Road and police were dispatched there.”
Col. Sudue explains that he told 105 to go there, and a heavy group of protesters were throwing objects at the police, wounding the head of one of the officers.He wonders how police had to do this if they were instructed to see Kolubah killed, as alleged by the lawmaker.
Sudue narrates that a guy was doing video at Kolubah’s program when he was engaged and taken out.In the process, it was alleged that the guy and Kolubah’s security went into a tussle when he got wounded.
He further claims one of the responding police officers got hit in the head in the process, when they tried to whisk Kolubah’s security away from angry mob that wanted to kill the suspect.However, he says the Police took Kolubah’s personal security to the LNP central headquarters in Monrovia, noting that Kolubah was besieged, and the Police were under attack.
“He and I had no conversation about the President,” he clarifies.He observes that Kolubah had with him some guests from America in the hall and he had fear that they could have sustained injuries, that’s why he was screaming.
By Winston W. Parley–Editing by Jonathan Browne