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Editorial

Re-enforcing Security to Curtail Constant Jailbreak at Monrovia Central Prison

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News of another jailbreak early Tuesday morning at the Monrovia Central Prison may  have created some nervousness and fear in many residents not only in the “Public Health Pump or PHP” Community, but the rest of Monrovia. In their minds, the early morning gunfire from the direction of the prison compound, otherwise known as South Beach may have given the impression of another upsurge in fighting, but turned out to be the work of the UN Peacekeepers monitoring local correction officers. Eyewitnesses had seen five inmates jump down at the front view of the prison fence, while seven others went down from the rear of the compound.

But Justice Ministry and Police authorities put the number of escapees at seven, out of eleven prisoners, who allegedly broke jail; at least three did not have the opportunity to make any attempt to escape. One prisoner, convict Kamara, who is serving a 25-year sentence and among the eight escapees, was re-arrested.

The prisoners are reported to have broken jail from a cell called “FD Room 6” at about 3:45 am on Tuesday, wrapping themselves in thick blankets to cross over bar wires planted on top of the walls of the tall fence at the South Beach. According to the Justice Ministry and Police, escapees (all armed robbers) still on the run are  Berry Gontee, Othello Fokpah, Ben Acqueh, Willie G. Rick, Daniel Gbor, Christopher Tugbeh and Eric Diah.

A lady identified as Erika Toe is reported to have placed a hard saw in bread she carried to one of the prisoners- something used cut the prison bar. Erika, along with the seven correction officers on duty, is currently at Liberia national Police Headquarters for investigation, while a man hunt for the escaped prisoners in progress.

In the wake of this latest and scaring development, why would the Monrovia Central Prison –well fortified, continuously be experiencing such an unfortunate situation?  On a number of occasions, prisoners have broken jail. Many had thought that following the first and second incidents since the rehabilitation of the compound and its prison facilities, the necessary security measures would have by now been in place to prevent further jailbreaks.

Even though we are told that seven correction officers were being probed at the headquarters of the LNP, it is still not enough to curtail such ugly situation which does not bespeak well of our prison system in the country. “If it is not the maximum prison in Zwedru, Grand Gedej County today, it must be the Monrovia Central Prison tomorrow.”

Other than highly concentrating on whether or not the prison officers had some connection, the primary concern of the Justice Ministry and LNP must be to re-enforce security, as well as proper screening of whatever is taken to prisoners on the compound, including food. In view of the foregoing, the issue of adequate logistics for the re-enforced security is something to emphasize, as this is the only way a strengthened security at the Monrovia Central Prison can be sustained.

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