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Former AFL officer, others jailed

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-for abduction and torture

An ex-officer of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) Cheeseman Cole and several others have been sent to court by Police here for allegedly kidnapping and torturing 27 persons suspected to be homosexuals.

The victims were rounded up along the Roberts International Airport highway in Margibi County and subsequently remanded at the Monrovia Central Prison in the capital.

According to charge sheet from the Liberia National Police, defendants Emmanuel Tarpeh, Marcus, Galayi, James and Junior to be identified, violated Chapter 14, Section 14.20 (Aggravated Assault) Chapter 10, Section 10.1 (Criminal Attempt to Commit Murder) , Chapter 17, Section 17.11, (Possession and Sale of Physical Objects for lethal use) Chapter 14, Section 14.51 (Felonious Restraint) and Chapter 15 , Section 15.53 (Theft of Property), respectively.

Police investigation detailed that on October 8, 2020, a search and seizure warrant was issued on the premises of defendant Cole, following a tipoff that the missing persons were being kept in a white fence owned by him [Cole] and his collaborators.

The investigation revealed that during the search, defendant Cole was found hiding in the bathroom that connects to his bedroom along with several items found inside the house.

Items discovered inside the house include one single barrel handmade pistol, two live rounds, one Liberian Passport belonging to one Emmanuel Freeman, one of the complainants, assorted citizen and ordinary ID cards, one AFL uniform trousers, one AFL rain court, AFL overnight jacket, kitchen knife, screw driver, scissors, one black itel phone belonging to Alpha Grulee, alias Abenego, an AFL helmet along with One Hundred Six United States Dollars.

The investigation also revealed that defendant Cole is in the constant habit of charting with the victim on Facebook and inviting him to his RIA highway resident where he usually grabbed, tied, and beat him after which he took the victim’s phones and money with a warning not to tell anyone or else, their alleged sexual activity would be exposed thru Facebook.

According to the Police, about 27 persons have fallen prey to defendant Cole’s activities at different dates and time. Cole allegedly admitted to have interacted with six of the defendants by beating them afterward taking their phones and money under the pretense of disciplining them, but denied ever seen or interacting with Dominic Youconjah and Winston Toe.

However, Police investigation established through defendant Emmanuel Tarpeh’s testimonies that defendant Cole interacted with victim Youconjah and Toe on separate dates and time at his resident during which he tied and beat them and took away their money and phones.

The investigation said all the victims that defendant Cole allegedly mal-handled were seen alive and talked to, except Youconjah and Toe, who are yet to be physically seen.

By Ben P. Wesee–Editing by Jonathan Browne

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