An early morning scuffle between an officer of the Executive Protection Services or EPS and officers of the Armed Forces of Liberia nearly turned fatal, when the EPS officer opened fire shooting the AFL officer in the stomach and wounding several others.
The incident occurred barely a day after an election campaign violence left several persons severely injured over the weekend in Gardnerville District 13.
Eye witnesses say it all started when the AFL officers who had been assigned at the stadium hours before the match between Liberia and Zimbabwe on Sunday could kick off try to prevent an EPS officer from entering the stadium with his pistol.
The eye witnesses said the AFL soldier, apparently the commander on the scene went ahead and disarmed the EPS officer something which did not go down well with him and that prompted him to reach out for his long ranch riffle joined by his colleagues and open fired at the AFL officer hitting him in the stomach and wounding several others.
Other eye witness accounts said the EPS officer was part of an advance team deployed ahead of President George Weah’s arrival at the stadium.A statement issued by the government confirmed that early hour incident and also confirmed that one army officer and five other persons wounded in the incident are being treated.
The government said six of the EPS agents involved in the scuffle with the soldiers were disarmed and placed under investigation regarding the incident.The Ministry says the wounded officer of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) is being treated at the government – run John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Sinkor,
“The incident resulted into an AFL soldier being shot and 5 others sustaining injuries. An EPS agent was also injured. The shot AFL soldier is currently receiving treatment at the John F. Kennedy hospital,” the government says in a statement issued Sunday.
It explains that the fracas occurred in the morning hours of Sunday, 18 November ahead of a football match between the Liberian national team, the Lone Star and the Zimbabwean national team in an African Cup of Nations qualifier.
The statement, which was authorized by Information Minister Eugene Nagbe, said the national security apparatus was able to put the situation under control and had no effect on the game at the SKD.
“Such an incident is totally unwarranted and the government wishes to assure the general public that those culpable will bear the full weight of the law,” the statement adds.
The government on Sunday encouraged all to go about their normal activities, including those who previously planned to be at the SKD to cheer the national team.
In another development, government says the Liberia National Police (LNP) is investigating an electoral violence incident which caused some injuries in Montserrado District 13 on Saturday, 17 November and will shortly issue a preliminary statement.
In the incident at District #13, it is reported that supporters of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) allegedly killed an opposition supporter of former ruling Unity Party (UP) representative candidate Cornelia Krua – Togba and wounded several others in campaign violence.