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Power theft leaves 3 dead, houses brunt

At least three persons reportedly died and several homes burnt here following power theft on Front Street in Monrovia. The incident occurred last week Thursday when an unidentified man believed to be involved in regular power theft, was connecting wire on a light pole at night.

One of the victims has been identified as a professional tailor, who on the night of the incident, returned home under influence of alcohol and was asleep in his zinc shack when fire gutted the premises, killing him. The deceased’s stomach burst opened after the fire has destroyed his entire structure, and also left a child killed.

Two other victims of the fire lived in structures reportedly used by some occupants for prostitution and sale of drugs. An eyewitness Otis Lawson, who claimed to be a resident of Front Street, notes that there is increased power theft in the community usually carried out by unscrupulous individuals not in the employ of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC).

Lawson recalls a similar power theft happened near the United Methodist University where a middle-age person was electrocuted while illegally connecting electricity to his house.

According to him, the situation is not only alarming but also destroying lives of people, who chose to bye-pass the LEC, which is the legitimate distributor of electricity in Liberia.

He suggests that government should embark on a vigorous exercise that would lead to arresting and prosecuting individuals involved in power theft, which undermines income generation of the LEC.

The Management of the Liberia Electricity Corporation has often arrested several persons for power theft and forwarded them subsequently for prosecution, but the practice remains unabated.

By Emmanuel Mondaye-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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