River Gee County Superintendent, Phillip Jah, has expressed fears that the detention center in Fish Town is unsafe to keep in custody high core crime suspects, and asked the Justice Ministry to take “delivery” of the three ex-rebel generals arrested in the county recently for transfer to Monrovia.
Three alleged former rebel generals of the defunct Movement for Democracy in Liberia or MODEL – Inspector Powell Solo, c.k.a. “General Power”; Dennis Slayah, c.k.a. “Charles Ble Goude”; and ex-Field Commander Augustine Vleyee, c.k.a. “Bush Dog” were arrested last week in Swroken – a Liberian border town with Ivory Coast in Weabo District, River Gee County on suspicion of mercenary activities.
The suspects were allegedly mobilizing ex-fighters under the guise of discouraging them from going into Ivory Coast to fight. They claimed to have operated covertly on behalf of the National Security Agency (NSA) in Monrovia.
But Joint Security forces in the county thought the real motive for the exercise is to enter neighboring Ivory Coast to cause instability as that country prepares for election.
On Wednesday morning, 20 May, River Gee County Superintendent Jah said he told the National Security Agency or NSA Director, Fomba Sirleaf, that criminals sometimes burglarize the holding center where detainees are kept in Fish Town, expressing fear that “it was not safe to keep the alleged ex-MODEL rebel fighters there.”
The Superintendent said at the end of a security meeting chaired by the Justice Ministry following the concern raised, the NSA boss Sirleaf told him that it was in the purview of the Justice Ministry to decide whether or not to transfer the suspects to Monrovia.
In addition to the burglary concern expressed, Mr. Jah has further fears that if the suspects remained in Fish Town, their case of mercenarism and impersonating as security officers could drag up to the August Term of Court on grounds that the court is currently at a “midterm” and cases docketed were being dealt with.
“I’m not of the opinion that they should be kept here, while being investigated; I want the Government of Liberia to come and take delivery of them because this place is not safe to keep them – criminals sometimes burglarize this place,” he spoke with this paper on Wednesday.
The Superintendent was responding to a NewDawn’s inquiry if he was aware of information earlier provided by an unimpeachable source that the three ex-rebel generals would have been taken to court on Wednesday, 20 May in Fish Town on charges of “mercenarism and impersonating as officers.”
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, confided that the three men had finally been processed and charged to be sent to court “today” – [Wednesday], but noted that two other suspects, Paye N. Suah and James Kpakai, were still on the run.
However, Superintendent Jah said he had no information whether the arrested suspects would have been taken to court yesterday, as he basically insisted on call to have them transferred from Fish Town.
Security sources have linked suspect Paye N. Suah, a former National Patriotic Front of Liberia or NPFL general to the Glarro Town massacre in River Gee during the MODEL war in southeast Liberia between 2003 and 2004 against ex-President Charles Taylor.
On 18 May, River Gee Weabo District Superintendent Harry Quiah accused co-suspect James N. Kpakai, an alleged former body guard to ex-President Laurent Gbagbo of Ivory Coast, to be heading the arrested “security impersonators” and had sent them to the county to mobilize men for insurgency against the Ivorian authorities.
Both suspects Kpakai and Suah were reported to have fled from the county unnoticed and are still at large.
Under anonymous condition, police sources confirmed the arrest of the three former rebel generals, who claimed they were running a “covert” operation for the NSA at Liberia’s border with Ivory Coast to “discourage former ex-combatants from taking part in Ivory Coast’s civil war.”
Liberia’s Defense Ministry said the Armed Forces of Liberia or AFL began a week-long surveillance patrol of key border points including those in River Gee, Maryland, Lofa, Bong and Grand Cape Mount Counties last Saturday, but Assistant Minister for Public Affairs, David Dahn, clarified that it was not in connection with the security situation reported.
This paper could not immediately get comment from the Justice Ministry in Monrovia, as calls made to its public affairs office were not responded to. By Winston W. Parley – Edited by Jonathan Browne