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February 11, 2013 Air Disaster Investigation:

There are increasing uncertainties among Liberians about the outcome of the investigation into last February’s Armed forces Day plane crash involving a Guinean CASA CN 235 aircraft. Since the constitution of an investigative committee, comprising representatives of the aircraft manufacturing company, Liberian and Guinean officials, following the crash, the Government of Liberia is yet to release the report.

Making the Outcome Public Now

The Charlesville plane crash occurred while the Guinean military plane was conveying a high level Guinean military delegation headed by Guinean Army Chief General Souleymane Kelefa Diallo, for the 166th Armed Forces Day celebration in Monrovia. 11 passengers, including the Army Chief were killed in that tragedy. The investigative committee, chaired by the Director General of the Liberia Civil Aviation Authority or LCAA, Mr. Richelieu A. Williams, commenced its investigation on March 6, 2013, but has failed to make the much-anticipated report public.

On June 27, 2013, during a MICAT press briefing, Mr. Williams announced the completion of the probe, further disclosing that the “team had briefed President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf” about the findings of the report, as well as proceeding to brief Guinean President Alpha Conde the following week. According to him, immediately following the briefing of the Guinean Head of State, the report would have been made public, attributing the delay in making the report public to the parliamentary elections in Guinea   at that time.

While the investigative committee must be hailed for probing the February 11, 2013 air disaster and going through all of the high Liberian and Guinean bureaucracies,  its inability to make public the result of its investigation now or the nearest future may lead to a complete failure. Concerns being raised by Liberians about the outcome of the probe  may truly be legitimate, owing to the fact that the  tragedy occurred on Liberian soil in Charlesville, Margibi County- the same proximity of the  August 1999 air disaster in which former Police Director Joseph B. Tate and others were killed. The challenge now to Director General Williams and Government of Liberia is to make the report available to the public to avoid confidence crisis’.

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