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Shooting in Western Liberia

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Unknown gun-men are reported to have opened suppressive fire in Western Liberia’s Bomi County on Sunday close to the Capital, Monrovia.Eye witness accounts suggest that nine unknown gun-men sporadically fired several rounds of light weapons in a farming area in the Sass Town community located on the Monrovia-Bomi Highway.

The shooting, which took place early Sunday morning within the Fula Hill community near Sass Town, reportedly created panic among citizens who spent sleepless hours making their way into safety.

Fula Hill is a designated farming environment for citizens of Sass Town. Bomi County Superintendent Samuel Brown, on Monday, confirmed reports of the presence of strange armed men, as well as the shooting incident in area, but said light weapons were used; empty shells were also found early Monday morning in the Fula Hill when our reporter, along with other journalists visited the area.

Speaking in an interview with journalists in Sass Town, Superintendent Brown urged citizens of the county not to panic, as all was being done to address the prevailing situation. He said fact finding investigations, were ongoing by Liberian security forces, including Liberia National Police.

News of the shooting incident has prompted huge deployment of security forces, including the Armed Forces of Liberia and Police Emergency Response Unit, to ascertain the facts. Also speaking, the Town Chief of the community, D. Emmanuel Darkinah, quoted an eye witness who saw the armed men entering the town as saying he saw 9 armed men in military uniforms entering the town, but how they got there was still uncertain.

He urged his people to remain calm and look up to the security forces for information. The news of the shooting comes a few months after a mysterious vessel docked in neighboring Grand Cape County, as well as the discovery of a huge cache of ammunition in Bomi recently – just two months following the drawdown of the United Nations Mission in Liberia from Western Liberia.

Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization Commissioner Lemeo Reeves told local journalists on the scene that the joint security forces were handling the situation professionally and that investigation was ongoing. He called on the people of that community to remain claim.

Meanwhile, local journalists visiting the scene of the shooting were prevented from interviewing the main eye witness who reportedly saw the armed men responsible for the shooting. Top security officers attributed the inability of the eye-witness to speak to the press to citing “security reason”.

Liberia is currently enjoying 13 years of peace since the end of a decade long civil war in 2003. An end that saw ex-President Charles Taylor being exiled followed by his subsequent arrest and trial.

By Bridgett Milton

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