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Samukai somersaults

Despite his earlier denial about the September 20, 2014 shooting incident in West Point Township during the peak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease, which led to the death of a 15-year-old lad, Shakie Kamara, the Minister of National Defense, Brownie Samukai,  has finally apologized to  family of the deceased and residents of the township.

Minister Samukai at celebrations marking Liberia’s 58th Armed Forces Day here on Wednesday morning, February 11, 2015, at the Edwin Barclay Military Barracks in Monrovia  openly apologized for the killing of little Shakie by soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia or AFL.

He had earlier denied reports that the victim was shot by officers of the AFL, who were deployed in the township following reports of looting of a quarantine center there. Samukai had argued that the boy sustained injuries from barbed wire and not bullet, but later it was established by medical doctors that the late Shakie was fired with live bullets.

The Defense boss told the nation and the world at large that during the incident, soldiers did not shoot at residents, claiming that the wounded were trying to break a barbed wire security barrier.

“We sincerely apologized for the shooting incident in West Point that led to the killing of one of our citizens. The authority of the AFL takes full responsibility for the incident. However, preventive and punishable actions have been taken to curtail such from happening again,” he pleaded Wednesday before hundreds of soldiers and civilians, who have gathered at B.T.C to witness the celebrations.

On September 20, 2014, a teenage boy who was shot and wounded during clashes between angry residents and security forces. He subsequently died of hypovolemic or severe blood and fluid loss shock after being shot in his legs, said Dr. Mohammed Sankoh, Medical Director for the Government-owned Redemption Hospital.

The teenager was part of a large crowd of young men and women, who reportedly tried to storm out of the township, placed under quarantine the night before. Soldiers of the AFL fired live rounds to drive the protesters back into their neighborhood. Two other residents also were shot during the disturbances.

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President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf subsequently launched an investigation into the shooting incident, which established that the victim was by live weapon.

Keynote Speaker for the 58th Armed Forces Day, former cabinet minister and rights activist, Samuel Kofi Woods, urged the authorities and officers of the AFL to return to West Point – this come around, with cleanup materials to give the township a facelift and carry out some sporting activities that will drive away the fear of residents.  

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor

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