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Liberia news

Ellen Troubled Over Tragedy

President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf says no leader or parent would like to see the tragedy of a police escort vehicle in her convoy kill two kids, “because you just don’t know how to face it, how to withstand it”.

“It’s very sad … it’s one of the things that no person, no leader, no parent like to see this because you just don’t know how to face it, how to withstand it,” President Sirleaf said Thursday, 1 December in a live State Radio ELBC phone conversation from Ghana.

In her reaction to the tragic death of the two boys in persons of seven year- old Melvin Tucker and nine year – old Jackson Tucker, the President said she has instructed the Inspector General of Police, Col. Gregory Coleman and his team to guide the situation and look at the proper regulation of convoy and testing of convoy drivers.
She mandated a proper testing of convoy drivers to ensure that they have the proper driving skills, saying immediate actions have to be taken ensure that every step that is necessary is taken to prevent the recurrence of that kind of situation.

She also urged the police to look at the road system, particularly where there are pedestrians moving and what can be done to slow people down who may tend to be “reckless in their driving”.
While in Ghana to monitor the political process leading to that country’s elections, President Sirleaf said her mind could not be removed from the “tragedy at home”.
“I already said to the family, I called the guardian- the guardian of the kids last night and said to him how sad I was; how painful it was”, President Sirleaf said, noting that it was a time when “we can” do some changes that everyone has been talking about, by moving quickly enough to address the situation.

The president indicated that she has begun talking with authorities in the Executive to see what can be done. But she told those that she said are trying to politicize the incident that it was so wrong on grounds that what it does is that it only creates tension to the family who are mourning.

“To those of us, you know who having to be caught up in this unfortunate thing, you know that we should all talk, we should come to each other on a tragedy like this ..,” she said, discouraging Liberians against politicizing the situation.
Prior to her live conversation with ELBC, a statement had been issued by the Executive Mansion, expressing President Sirleaf’s sadness and regret over the accidental death of the two Liberian children.

The Mansion said the kids were killed by the lead police vehicle assigned with the Presidential convoy on Wednesday 30 November 30 within the vicinity of the ELWA Junction at about 5: 23PM.
The kids were said to be crossing the street when they got killed by police escort vehicle in the presidential convoy that was returning to Monrovia from the Roberts International Airport or RIA in Margibi County following President Sirleaf’s departure to Ghana.

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Already, the Executive Mansion said the driver of the lead police vehicle- Tunies Follah, has been disrobed and detained, while his Supervisor, Police Superintendent Steve Daniels is currently undergoing serious investigation.

The convoy had earlier taken President Sirleaf to the Roberts International Airport for departure to Ghana and was returning when the accident occurred. The Mansion said after hearing about the unfortunate incident upon her arrival in Accra, Ghana, President Sirleaf immediately spoke with the guardian of the children and assured that upon her return, she will publicly share the grief of the family by visiting them.

It said the President will also take strong additional measures to avoid any reoccurrence. According to the Executive Mansion, the leadership of the Liberia National Police has made contact with the family of the victims and met initially with the guardian, Jacob Garugap, pending the arrival of the biological parents from Grand Bassa County.

By Winston W. Parley

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