Members of the Liberian Senate are deeply worried about a recent clash between agents of the elite presidential guard, the Executive Protection Service or EPS and the Director of the Liberia National Police, Col. Clarence Christian Massaquoi during the funeral service of fallen Liberian Ambassador Rudolph Von Ballmoos in Monrovia.
Montserrado County Senator Geraldine Doe Sherif, has written the plenary of the Liberian Senate, expressing concern and panic about the safety of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and peaceful citizens, who were on the scene during the standoff that led armed security officers pulling guns at one another.
A communication from Senator Doe Sherifdated January 11, 2016, whichwas read in plenary Tuesday, January 12, indicates that the intersection of Ashumn and Center Streets in Monrovia over the weekend appeared to be a battle zone between the two state’s security apparatuses with every security personnel on the scene pulling guns to fire.
On January 9, 2016, pedestrians fled, as some taxi drivers abandoned their vehicles when a standoff between officers of the Liberia National Police or LNP and the Executive Protection Service or EPS nearly turned into a gun battle as both LNP and EPS officers pointed long range riffles at one another.
This was after Police Director Chris Massaquoi’s vehicle, which one account says had attempted to intrude into the Presidential Convoy headed for the First United Methodist Church on Ashmun Street, collided with one of the new EPS vehicles with registration number EPS -70. Already, President Johnson Sirleaf had suspended the Assistant Director for Operations at the EPS, Col. Charles Karzor and two officers from the police.
The communication, which created some serious interest among senators, pointed out that scenery of the unwholesome act between the EPS and the police chief Massaquoiis clear indication of what may happen if United Nations troops were to leave as planned.
It noted the situation impeded the movement of peaceful citizens and also brought memories of the 14 years of bitter civil war in Liberia. “People were confused going about and scary. This country has seen a lot of tension for which this ugly and wanton act that showed its face needs to be nipped. This act is unacceptable and must be condemned by the first branch of government,” said the tough-spoken female senator.
She requested plenary to mandate its statutory committee on National Defense, Security, Intelligent and Veteran Affairs to probe into what transpired and provide plenary with some information about the cause that led to the occurrence.
“I also hope that as UNMIL pulls out in June, 2016, this will never be repeated because our people deserve peace and free movement and are tired with this kind of security hullabaloo,” she added.
Grand Cape Mount County Senator, Cllr. Varney Sherman, argues that the matter is already being investigated by the Executive Mansion and as such, it makes no sense for the Senate to get involved.
But his comment was kicked out by Lofa County Senator George Tingbeh, who made a motion that the communication should be sent to relevant committee to report to plenary within a week.
Maryland County Senator, Ambassador H. Dan Morias, demanded that plenary should debate the issue before sending it to committee room, but presiding officer, Vice President Joseph Boakai, ignored the suggestion and called for yea and nail votes.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Edited by Jonathan Browne