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Will we be safe after UNMIL?

Darlington George violence NDThe ruthless handling of an unarmed lady by a senior state security officer and his subordinates has raised questions about security fears here following the withdrawal of the United Nations Mission in Liberia or UNMIL.

Already there are documented reports of police brutality and the weekend assault on this unarmed lady by the deputy director for the Presidential guard, Executive Protection Service (EPS) Darlington George, has even heightens the fears.

Mr. George was dismissed on Monday and forwarded to the Ministry of Justice for further investigations, but concerns of safety after UNMIL mounts. However, narrating her ordeal to journalists here Tuesday, Ms. Esther Glain, said it all started on Sunday, September 13 at 9:00 P.M. while standing with some friends after watching a soccer match at the Barnersville sports pitch in Barnersville Estate when a vehicle with tainted windshields drove very close and nearly ran into them. She said out of fear, they yelled at the driver to stop.

According to her, when she went and knocked on the tainted windshields of the car’s door thinking that it may have been someone who knew them, Mr. George hit her with the car door. He did not only stop there but stepped out of the car and walked to them, looking right in their faces and called them prostitutes.

Continuing, she said when they inquired why the senior presidential guard referred to them as prostitutes, he slapped her and kicked her in the stomach, remarking: “I will beat you and nothing will come from it.”

“So he ordered his boys to beat on me and one of them by the name D.K.Tamba, also an EPS officer, took a Malta bottle and gashedmy face, leaving me unconscious as the vehicle drove away.”

Esther, affectionately known as Varnester Maday Kiatamba, said since the attack, she has not received proper medication, adding that after the attack, she was rushed to a nearby community clinic, which provided some medications, but advised she should go to a hospital for adequate attention due to the severity of the wound sustained.

She narrated that since the attack, the former EPS deputy, Darlington, had not visited her except the director of the Service, Frank Nyenkan, who went to see her on Monday and inquired what really transpired.

The victim said Director Nyenkan presented her US$100 as a personal consolation and not on behalf of the Government of Liberia. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has reportedly dismissed the deputy EPS boss, Darlington George, for assaulting Ms Esther Glain.

An Executive Mansion release issued here Monday said, President Sirleaf has further directed Darlington to report to the Ministry of Justice for investigation, and if found wanting, shall be sent to court for prosecution.

A social media account Tuesday said, the accused has been spotted at the Roberts International Airport in Margibi County, trying to leave the country, but this was not independently confirmed up to press time.

Meanwhile, the opposition Congress for Democracy Change or CDC has denounced what it called persistent brutalities by state security forces against peaceful citizens. In a news conference Monday at the CDC Headquarters in Congo Town, youth wing chair Jefferson Koijee, said it is becoming very difficult to distinguish between the National Police Force of convicted former President Charles Ghankay Taylor and the current administration as police brutality against unarmed civilians rises day after day in a country still striving to consolidate peace, maintain security, and promote genuine reconciliation.

Koijee said the police Emergency Response Unit or ERU, and the Police Support Unit or PSU under the Unity Party-led government are gradually wearing the ‘malicious iron jacket’ of the defunct Special Operations Division or SOD and walking in the dark shadows of the infamous Anti-Terrorist Unit or ATU of Mr. Taylor.

The CDC has called a mass meeting of students, youth groups and women organizations in Monrovia this Friday, September 18, to strategize a way forward in resolving the persistent assaults by State security forces.

Also reacting to the incident, the President Pro-tempore of the Liberian Senate, Senator ArmahJallah, commended President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for the immediate dismissal of the deputy director of the Executive Protection Service, Darlington George, for brutally assaulting a young lady.

“Brutalization of citizens by armed men belongs to the dust-bin of our history and can no longer be tolerated in this democracy. I hope the appropriate charges are brought against him so that final justice can be served this lady. As UNMIL returns the security of this country to us, it is my hope and prayers that individuals in state security be reminded that this is a country of laws and that they should work to uphold these laws and the values of our democracy,” Pro-tempore Jallah said.

By Bridgett Milton& E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor – Edited by Jonathan Browne

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