Senator Prince Y. Johnson of Nimba County, notorious here for summary executions during the Liberian Civil War, has frowned at brutality by State security forces against peaceful citizens.
Johnson is the former leader of the disbanded rebels Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia or INPFL that captured and mutilated President Samuel Kanyon Doe to death on September 6, 1990. He is listed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report as one of the ex-warlords who committed heinous crimes in Liberia during the civil crisis.
But Johnson, a former Presidential candidate, said it is frustrating and terrifying that State security officers will develop the habit of beating on civilians only to demonstrate authority. Speaking during a public hearing on a bill seeking recreation of a new national police and Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization last week at the Capitol Building, PYJ, as he is affectionately called, said despite UNMIL drawdown plans here, the sector, which supposed to prepare for smooth takeover, is noted for consistently brutalizing peaceful citizens.
Johnson an advisor to the Senate Committee on National Defense, Security, Intelligence and Veteran Affairs, continuing said the worst part of it is that the Chief Executive, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, would appoint some mean doers to lucrative positions, making their victims to feel aggrieved and neglected.
He said it has become habitual for State security officers to harm peaceful citizens and later get appointed to bigger positions in government, noting that these are some factors that cause citizens to rise against the government.
“It is worrying and terrifying that our security people will just beat on civilians only in name of showing power and being part of the regime. This is something that the President needs to work on, because the UN people will soon be out of here.
What happens to our people? The trust of the population will not be there and for peaceful society, security people need the trust and confidence of the people or else, the country may return to fearful stage,” Johnson said.
Since the inception of this administration, there have been about 26 major security brutalities against citizens and officials of government. On November 7, 2011, law enforcement agents clashed with supporters of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), resulting to one confirmed death with several others injured.
In 2011, the Liberia National Police and Immigration officers occasionally subjected travellers to arbitrary searches and petty extortion at checkpoints. In July 2012, three police officers harassed and assaulted a woman in Thinker’s Village in Maryland County.
In 2010, Gator Doe was allegedly killed by ERU officers during a peaceful demonstration against SIFCA operation in Pleebo-Sodoken District, Maryland County.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor – Edited by Jonathan Browne