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Liberian Debate

Liberians Debate: The back-to-back shooting to death of civilians by the Police and EPS                

By Naneka A. Hoffman

The back-to-back shooting to death of two civilians by officers of the Executive Protection Service (EPS) and the Police Emergency Response Unit (ERU), respectively in separate communities has raised public concern with sharp criticism against heavy-handedness and recklessness by state security officers.

In this random sampling, The New Dawn asked several Monrovia residents what they think of the growing recklessness among arms-carrying security personnel, leading to arbitrary discharge of weapons and death, as compiled below. 

K. Yefuleh B. Gidding

“It is hardly unreasonable and unacceptable when it comes to public peace and is becoming unusual in Liberia due to the form and manner the State goes about in recruiting people for national security operations. The EPS and LNP especially, the EPS, are not made for partisanship, but currently, most of those enlisted men in the EPS were all recruited from party headquarters, which is very wrong. You can’t instill militarized militias among your supporters as a military for the period of (12) twelve years, only instructed to battle your opponents and then you come to state power recruiting them into security operatives. Any time they hear another person expressing themselves about the affairs of State and society, they will get back in their militarized posture to violently react to citizens who are expressing views on critical national issues. Therefore, the national security needs serious rebranding especially, the EPS. The EPS is for VIP protection, not for a normal law enforcement habit but because people are covered by partisan protection, and they are carrying arms, they don’t care. They recklessly see themselves as partisans, not state security. So, the government should rebrand the entire national security force by conducting adjustment tests and ethical examinations of their behavior and conduct. We need to do social audit on them.’’

Ishmael Dennis

‘’First of all, I want for the government to take serious decision on EPS officers, who carry arms around, because more often when you go to an entertainment center, an EPS officer drinking alcohol would get dizzy in a gathering and then discharge firearm among public. The government needs to put some measure in place that after work, all EPS officers and whosoever that carry arms should report it to their bosses before going home because these days things are going bad. We are seeing EPS officers discharging firearms among peaceful citizens without any reason and even taking other’s life away in the name of mistake. There is no justice system; the EPS officers should always hide their arms whenever they are in public gatherings.’’  

Alvin Vankpanah

“I think it is not a good sign for our country’s security sector and those officers that are in the sector. Normally by profession, there should be procedures and timeline as an officer, when and where to discharge your firearm particularly, EPS officers, even the police who can just go about discharging their firearm wrongly on people especially, on citizens is not a good sign. I recommend that those responsible for the justice system should put measures in place to see how best this thing can be controlled.’’

Musa Dorley

    “Regarding people killed by EPS officers and other state security all we want is that justice must be done. You know under the law, killing is a capital crime so, when you killed somebody, you must go through the rightful punishment because you can’t misuse firearm. Firearm is not intended to be misused, but rather to protect the citizens. So, instead of where you will see people misusing firearms on the increase then it becomes detrimental to the existence of our State and to the importance of the people. All we want from the Government of Liberia is, let justice be done in this identical issue.’’

Fatumata Kamara

“You see in this country, police officers or security personnel should be very careful because one fact is when you are an EPS or police officer working, you should set an example like any other police in the world. It is not a good sign for our security officers, who are supposed to be protecting us being in the habit of killing peaceful citizens under the guise of mistake.’’ 

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