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Crime & PunishmentLiberia news

ERU officer kills another civilian 

As spouse of three children demands justice

As spouse of three children demands justice

By Lincoln G. Peters

Another civilian is reportedly killed by an officer of the Liberia National Police’s (LNP’s) elite Emergency Response Unit (ERU), about a day after an officer of the Executive Protection Service (EPS) killed victim Valentine T. Johnson.

In the fatal shooting incident reported from a ghetto in New Kru Town, Bushrod Island Monday evening, 4 July 2022, Olando Bloh, aged 37, was allegedly gunned down by ERU Officer James Togba.

In the same incident in the Fuel Oil Community of New Kru Town, Officer Togba allegedly wounded victim Kengar Kennedy who is said to be a colleague of the late Bloh.

Victim’s wife

Officer Togba had allegedly discharged a live bullet when he went out to demand money from illicit drug dealers who are said to be running a ghetto in the Fuel Oil Community in New Kru Town.

 The bullet allegedly hit and killed victim Bloh and allegedly wounded victim Kennedy.

The late Bloh is believed to be a disadvantaged youth, but he was said to have a spouse and three children.

The deceased and his spouse Tracy Weah were said to have over 20 years of relationship and had three children.

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After allegedly being shot, victim Bloh was taken to the John F. Kennedy Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead on arrival by doctors on duty. 

His spouse Tracy Weah is calling on the Government of Liberia through the Liberia National Police and the Ministry of Justice to speedily investigate and dispense justice without favor.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with this paper Tuesday, 5 June 2022 at the deceased’s residence in New Kru Town, Tracy lamented that her husband has been allegedly murdered by Officer Kennedy.

She described the death of her spouse as a serious heartbreak and disappointment because she is now left alone to take care of her children as a single mother.

“I am calling for justice for my husband and help from the government and other people that can help,” said Tracy. 

“My husband and I have three children, two boys and one girl. Our older son is 19 years old and he will be graduating this year from high school,” Tracy lamented. 

“Our other son, the last [born], is going to [be] three years [old] now while our daughter is 12 years old. My problem now is, how [am] I going to take care of these children and send them to school without the help of their father? Tracy pondered. 

“I am really broken and in serious tears.’’

Also speaking with this paper, Ms. Susan Sando, disadvantaged youth in the area narrated that the incident occurred while they were in the ghetto smoking. 

“Yesterday we were sitting down in the ghetto smoking, this ERU guy called ‘Opoku’ [referring to suspect Togba], came to us and demanded that [we give him] five thousand Liberian dollars,” said Ms. Sando.

“My husband is the five stars of the ghetto (ghetto ringleader) and so he and I came outside, called the man outside. We told him to wait, and we went out to the guy to organize small things for him,” Susan explained.

She said while mobilizing funds to give to the ERU Officer, the deceased had contended that it was Monday and they could not afford to raise LRD$5,000 for the officer. She said it was then suggested to give the officer LRD$600.00.

“When I went to call my husband in the ghetto the officer started complaining that we want to make fun of him. So that’s how he fired and killed our friend,’’ Ms. Susan claimed.

She said after the officer discharged the bullet, they (ghetto guys) arrested him and turned him over to officers from the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) who were around.

She said they took victim Bloh to Redemption Hospital, but they were told to transfer him to JFK because of lack of beds. The victim reportedly died on arrival at JFK.

Meanwhile, the Liberia National Police says it has with immediate effect disrobed and turned over Officer James Togba for investigation in connection to the shooting incident that occurred in the Fuel Oil Community.

The LNP has expressed dismay over the shooting incident in New Kru Town and vowed to ensure that the officer involved will be duly investigated and made to face the full weight of the law. 

In a statement released Tuesday, 5 July, LNP Spokesman Moses Carter said the officer is presently detained at the police headquarters undergoing investigation.

The tragic shooting involving Kennedy came just after an earlier incident on Monday, 4 June, when EPS Agent Patrick Kollie reportedly shot and killed Valentine T. Johnson on the Police Academy Road in Paynesville. Kollie is being investigated by the LNP. –Edited by Winston W. Parley

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