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GeneralLiberia news

Opposition accuses army chief

–Over huge guns discovery

By Lincoln G. Peters

The youth congress of Liberia’s former ruling Unity Party (UP) believes that Maj. Gen. Prince Charles Johnson, III, is a person of interest for illegal weapons recently discovered at the Freeport of Monrovia.

But the UP-youth congress provided no evidence to back its wild allegation against the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Gen. Johnson.

In an exclusive interview with this paper Thursday, 12 January 2023, the UP-youth congress chair Togar Melvin Cephas said his suspicion is based on Gen. Johnson’s statement during President George Manneh Weah’s absence from the country.

Cephas explained that one month ago, Gen. Johnson was heard on local broadcaster OK FM saying people in and outside the country were urging him to overthrow the president, but he had resisted.

“I think the Chief of Staff is a person of interest and a party to these guns discovered at the Freeport of Monrovia,” said Cephus. 

“Major Johnson, III, should be invited and investigated by the Liberia National Police,” he continued.

But Gen. Johnson has rubbished Cephas’ wild allegation as silly and laughable, saying he can’t say anything much about it. 

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“It’s a bit stupid, silly and laughable that somebody will think of me or say that about me,” the Army Chief told our reporter Thursday night, 12 January in a phone interview. 

“I just can’t say anything much to you about this because the police is investigating the matter and so I think you need to contact the police,” said Gen. Johnson.

Major Gen. Johnson furthered that if Mr. Cephas believes that he is a party and a person of interest, let him help the police in the investigation and give them further information. 

” Meanwhile, that is all I have to say because before I talk, I have to see you, know which institution you [are] working with by your ID card. But, for now, it’s very stupid, silly, and laughable because he doesn’t know what the law says,” he said.

Following Gen. Johnson’s appearance on OK FM last year, some local dailies attributed a statement to him allegedly saying he had received calls and messages urging him to overthrow the government of President Weah.

He argued that just one month after the Chief of Staff’s statement, guns were seen at the Freeport of Monrovia. 

“Major Johnson needs to be investigated because the president and all Liberians’ lives are at risk,’’ Mr. Cephas alleged.

He noted that since Gen. Johnson said he received calls to overthrow the president, he has failed to state the names of those making the call.

Cephas thinks that those that were calling Gen. Johnson may be allegedly the same people smuggling weapons into the country to cause fear and intimidation. 

But Cephas alleged that President Weah is so careless about his own life. 

“If somebody tells you that people want to kill you and you don’t care about it, that demonstrates carelessness, [an] irresponsible attitude,’’ he noted. 

The Unity Party National Youth Congress chairman, therefore, called on the Government of Liberia to take the illegal guns issue very seriously.

He warned that it borders on national security, and it also has the potential to threaten the peace and stability of the country, especially as Liberians are gearing up for the 2023 presidential and legislative elections.

“We call on the government to take this issue [more] seriously than ever before. They should make sure that the Army Chief of Staff Major Prince C. Johnson is invited for [a questioning],” he urged.

Security forces here have launched an investigation into the discovery of a huge cache of arms and ammunition at the Freeport of Monrovia and at a private residence in Brewerville, outside Monrovia. 

Both discoveries are connected to a single source.

The arms and ammunition were first discovered at the port in a shipment consignee to a lady before further discoveries were made at her home in Brewervile following a search and seizure operation.

Security sources have identified the shipper as Ben Baker and the shipment was made from the United States.

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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