The governing Unity Party or UP national convention held in Gbarnga, Bong County nearly turned sour last Thursday after an officer of the elite Presidential guard, the Executive Protection Service or EPS reportedly discharged his assigned pistol, creating panic among partisans, delegates and sympathizers.
Partisans and delegates of the ruling UP led by their standard bearer President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Vice President Joseph Boakai gathered in the provincial city of Gbarnga, Central Liberia last week to elect new corps of officers for the party ahead of elections in 2017.
The EPS Agent, only identified as Prince, is reportedly assigned with the Assistant Director for Administration of the EPS – Col. Rose Striker, formerly of the Liberia National Police. One account said agent Prince, fully armed, stormed the grounds of the Gbarnga Administrative Building Thursday night, 7 July suspiciously intoxicated and physically out of control.
The commander in charge of night operations, immediately ordered two agents of the EPS on assignment at the building that night to swiftly disarm agent Prince and have him detained at the Gbarnga Police Station, but he defiantly resisted, refusing to turnover his assigned pistol.
It was in the process of tussling over the weapon that a bullet discharged speedily toward the ground, and bounced hitting the agent who had gone to execute the arrest thus, sustaining wounds on his hands. But bystanders narrated the EPS came with re-enforcement later and subdued Agent Prince to the ground, disrobed and turned over to the police, while the wounded agents were taken to the Phebe Hospital and subsequently brought to Monrovia for proper medication.
Yet still, another version of the incident revealed that Agent Prince and his immediate boss, Col. Rose Striker, had some misunderstanding, so he was disrobed, something that led him to have allegedly taken in huge content of alcohol.
When the Director of the Executive Protection Service, Col. Frank Nyenka was contacted via mobile phone about the incident, he declined to comment. However, when this paper visited the police depot in Gbarnga on Saturday to find out whether Agent Prince was in detention, the police refused to state his whereabouts. But our reporter subsequently gathered that misbehaved EPS Agent was transferred to Monrovia for investigation.
Meanwhile, UP delegates have endorsed Vice President Boakai as their standard bearer to take the party to elections, former secretary general Wilmot Paye, was elected on white ballot as national chairman, Labour Minister Neto Zarzar Lighe, elected senior vice chairman, and Isaac Mannah retained as vice chairman for governmental affairs.
Others elected include; J. Cole Bangalu, Vice Chairman for Interparty and National Elections Commission relations, Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe defeated Representative Henry Fahnbulleh to become national secretary general, Edmund Forh defeated Margibi County Representative Ben Fofana to become national treasurer and Curtis Dorley was elected as national youth wing chair, among others.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor