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INCHRC official frowns at LDEA

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An official at the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) Mr. Sam McGill says the Commission’s investigation has established that officers of the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA), Bong Detachment is perpetrating demeaning acts against peaceful citizens.

Speaking recently at the opening for the May Term of Court of the 9th Judicial Circuit, Mr. McGill says LDEA officers in the County are constantly involved in the detention of Liberians and passengers who possess firearms and other items.

He argues that it is not forbidden by law for Liberians to bear firearm.Mr. McGill narrates that Col. Alex Toweh and his agents have allegedly perpetrated several demeaning acts against inhabitants of Bong and its surroundings which have drawn the attention of the INCHR.

Sam McGill recounts that human rights activists are yet to understand the law that prohibits the sale of firearms in the Country and as such, no citizen in possession of firearms is to be arrested by the LDEA.

Mr. McGill also used the opportunity to call on the requisite authority through the Ministry of Justice to establish the professional standard division at the LDEA Bong County Detachment office in Gbarnga for the reduction of some of these acts.

He maintains that since being assigned in the County, the LDEA has arrested about 30 firearms at the Gbarnga Check Point.His comments have received huge public reaction in the County, with many citizens condemning them.

Some citizens are calling on the Liberia National Police (LNP) to investigate him.
“I am really disappointed in Sam’s statement he made in the court yesterday. How will you say that the LDEA officers are not to arrest unauthorized individuals carrying firearms? That is altogether unacceptable,” Jerry F. Jackson, a resident of Gbarnga told this paper.

“For me all I can say is that the police need to investigate Sam because I think he has different intention,” Kumakeh Jackson, a former Chairman of Brooklyn Community adds.
Mr. Jackson indicates that McGill’s statement encourages unlawful act, especially in the transport of firearms in Liberia.

It can be recalled that in 2006, the United Nations Security Council, in its Resolution 1521 and its subsequent resolutions on Liberia, decided that, with certain limited exceptions, all States should take the necessary measures to prevent the sale or supply to Liberia of arms and related material of all types.

The measure included weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment and spare parts destined for any recipient in Liberia.

In the wake of the UN decision, former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf in 2006 issued Executive Order Number #6, banning individual, group, organization or entity other than the Government of Liberia from owning, possessing, or cause to be brought into Liberia any firearm of any type, caliber or design or any ammunition or parts for any firearm, or any tooling equipment intended for the purposes of manufacture, assembly, or re-tooling of firearms of any type.

The prohibition included any firearm previously registered under the provisions of the Firearms Traffic Act 1956.When contacted, LDEA Bong County Commander Alex Toweh disputed the allegation and termed it as cartoon of fallacy.He says the human rights actor has lost direction, evidenced by his action to have made derogatory statement against the LDEA.

Commander Toweh further maintains that besides drug dealers, the LDEA has the right to arrest violators of the law, urging human rights actors to carry on proper investigation before making public statements.–Edited by Winston W. Parley

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