Heavy shooting has reportedly occurred in Maryland County near the Cavalla Rubber Plantation by the Emergency Response Unit or ERU of the Liberia National Police.
Reports say the shooting created panic among residents of the plantation in Pleebo, Maryland County. The incident occurred Tuesday August 23, 2011 National Referendum Day, preventing most residents from coming out to participate in the referendum. Most citizens are said to have fled indoor for safety, while others sought refuge in nearby bushes for fear that something strange had taken place in the county.
The New Dawn is yet to independently verify reports about the firing, but some residents of the area claimed the ERU carried out the act to alert the citizens of their presence there and to ensure a violence free referendum in that part of the country.
However, eyewitnesses told this paper that the ERU allegedly opened fire when a strange vehicle infiltrated a police checkpoint. Violence flared recently on the Cavalla Rubber Plantation in Pleebo, Maryland County, after police rushed on the plantation on the alleged order of the Plantation’s Administrative Manager, Matthew Jaye to quell what was described as a violent protest.
But the intervention by officers of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) further exacerbated tension as they fired live bullets into the crowd of protestors, killing at least one and wounding several others. Workers of the company recently staged a peaceful protest in demand of wage increment and better working conditions.
But following the intervention of the ERU officers, which turned out to be bloody, the protesters got infuriated, setting up road blocks and eventually setting ablaze two houses reportedly belonging to Manager Jaye, who they accused of ordering the shooting.
The residents said upon hearing Tuesday’s gunfire, they were panicked, thinking that another violence has sparked up in the county. Police Director Marc Amblard, via mobile phone could neither confirm nor deny reports of gun fire near the Cavalla Rubber Plantation. But Pleebo Sodeken District Representative Bhofal Chambers, confirmed the firing. Representative Chambers could not however give details on the incident.
Maryland County Senior Senator John Ballout also confirmed the shooting, but said he received reports from the county that an unknown car penetrated an ERU checkpoint; something he said might have prompted the shooting.