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ULAA condemns violent attack on students

The Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA or the Union) has joined the many descending voices denouncing and condemning recent violent attacks on protesting students of the University of Liberia (UL).

In a statement dated 27 July 2022, ULAA lamented the ‘torture and brutalization of protesting students” of the University of Liberia and called on President George Manneh Weah’s government to immediately bring the culprits to justice.

The group demands justice for the July 26 Street violence in Monrovia without further delay in accordance with the laws of Liberia.

“ULAA is further urging President George Manneh Weah’s Administration to adopt serious measures and develop the necessary capacity against vigilante groups, mob violence and ensure the protection of human rights inside the country,” the statement said.

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Liberia’s 175th Independence Day celebration turned bloody on 26 July when government supporters calling themselves the Coalition for Democracy Change Council of Patriots (CDC – COP), attacked and wounded several UL students.

Six days after the incident, the Liberia National Police (LNP) announced Tuesday, 2 August that it had allegedly arrested seven suspects.

The LNP said those arrested were CDC – COP the chairperson suspect Ben B. Togbah, 25; Kendrick S. Pelenah, 30; Joshua S. Karr, 28; Pukar Roberts, 36; Foday N. Massaquoi, 23; Aaron K. Chea, 26; and Abdurahman Barrie.

They are accused of allegedly brutalizing protesting students.

The arrest of the seven accused persons came after University of Liberia (UL) – based Students Unification Party (SUP) protesters and other concerned university students petitioned the United Nations’ head office in Monrovia on Monday.

The protesters complained that government supporters calling themselves CDC – COP brutally attacked them and wounded several of their colleagues last week.

During the incident on Independence Day, student protester Christopher Sivili Walters was attacked mercilessly and stripped naked on video by CDC – COP.

His video went viral on social media, reminding Liberians of the inhumane treatment and painful murder of then-sitting Liberian president Samuel Kanyon Doe by rebel fighters under the command of now Nimba County Senator Prince Yormi Johnson (PYJ).

Besides Sivili, several other members of SUP were badly injured when they were attacked by the CDC – COP outside the United States Embassy near Monrovia.

“Also, the government must uphold those profound values that will encourage, promote and protect the Liberian people from all political spectrums and walk of life to enjoy peace and security,” ULAA said.

It urged that there must be absolute adherence to the rule of law regardless of political affiliation to prevent further violence and to protect the peaceful assembly.

The Union is demanding the Government of Liberia launch an investigation of the July 26 brutal incident of violence independently, thoroughly and transparently.

“ULAA is calling upon the Government of Liberia to seriously engage in meaningful dialogue with all sectors of the Liberian society to seek constructive pathway forward,” the statement continued.

It urged the government to address the socio-economic challenges, especially corruption, and the broader political and systemic root causes that have long perpetuated marginalization and poverty and undermined human rights inside the country.

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