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Fire in Grand Gedeh

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-As Fulanis allegedly kills correction officer

Grand Gedeh County has slipped into a day of turmoil after reports that a Fulanis shopkeeper allegedly killed a correction officer during a fight over water money sent angry residents on the rampage in the southeastern county. The names of the deceased correction officer and the Fulanis are yet to be disclosed, but police authorities in Monrovia confirmed the incident Tuesday evening, 18 May via mobile phone.

Videos from the incident scene in Zwedru City, Grand Gedeh County showed angry residents set roadblocks while some of them could be seen looting a shop in the area following the death of the correction officer.
A police station was set ablaze and a police vehicle damaged as well, while businesses closed down in the area on Tuesday.

In the background of the incident as heard in the video, the correction officer prior to his death was reported to have allegedly taken LD$40.00 worth of water that was being sold by the Fulanis and decided to keep the money because he did not see the accused around at the time.

Upon the return of the Fulanis and his subsequent inquiry as to who had taken his water, the officer is said to have answered that he (officer) took the water, but the accused allegedly got it because the victim had laughed while responding.

The accused suddenly went into a fistfight with the victim allegedly, and through the fight, the victim sustained an injury on his head and bled profusely.

Treatment at the Jackson F. Doe Hospital in Tapita, Nimba County, and an initial medication received at a local health facility in Grand Gedeh could not help the victim to recover, thus prompting him to return home and pursue the case with the police.

According to reports, the victim continued to follow the case while treating himself, but he died unfortunately on Tuesday morning which resulted in the turmoil that ensued on Tuesday in Grand Gedeh.
It is reported that the shop that was looted by the angry crowd belonged to the Fulanis who allegedly killed the officer.

Following the incident, Police Spokesman Moses Carter told this paper via mobile Tuesday evening that police had charged the Fulanis and sent him to court, but an angry crowd moved in on Tuesday to burn down the police station in the area.

He claimed that police prevented the crowd from burning down the police station, but the video showed fire inside a building that was said to be the police station. Carter explained that the Fulanis allegedly killed the correction officer, but noted that police are not disclosing the names of the suspect and the victim for now.

This incident in Grand Gedeh County follows another troubling situation in Maryland County when riots were held against the alleged gruesome murder of commercial motorcyclist Mocdicious Nyemah by suspect Moses Mlamah and others.

During the situation in Maryland County, angry citizens, including motorcyclists broke into the Harper prison compound on Tuesday, 30 March 202, demanding the living body of suspect Moses Mlamah, resulting in the escape of 91 inmates, including the suspect.

Some of the protesters and those accused of the murder in the case in Maryland were later arrested, charged, and transferred to Grand Gedeh because the prison facility in Harper had been vandalized.

Meanwhile, the Liberian government issued the following statement late Tuesday night:

The joint security has restored calm to the southeastern city of Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County, following disturbances earlier in the day which led to the burning of a police station and the reported looting of businesses.

The fracas is said to have ensued when a correction officer, who doubles as a businessman, reportedly died of a stab wound he sustained during a fight some time ago with another trader. The police came under attack when they attempted to prevent a mob from attacking the trader and his family whom they blamed for the death of the businessman – even though the deceased businessman had received medical treatment and returned home several days earlier.

The Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Justice, warns that it will not tolerate people taking the law into their own hands. Security forces are currently in pursuit of all the ring leaders and masterminds of today’s violence.

“Anyone who obstructs the work of peace officers or attacks them in any way will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law”, Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean has said.-By Winston W. Parley

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