Liberia News: SEVERAL ARRESTED OVER KINJOR VIOLENCE

By: R. Joyclyn  Wea

Monrovia-March-4-TNR:Police Inspector General Gregory O. W. Coleman has admitted and confirmed the discharge of a live bullet by an officer of the Liberian National Police in the long-standing protests against the operation of commercial gold mining company Bea Mountain Mining Corporation (BMMC).

Addressing a major press conference Saturday, at the LNP headquarters in Monrovia Col. Coleman said that police discharged a live bullet which resulted in the deaths of two persons.

“Yes, the LNP did discharge live round on the scene. The live round was discharged. If you look at the video release the police exercise maximum restraint, they didn’t reach to the point of using live rounds until there was a threat, danger fear by the officers before reaching that point” he justified.

According to him, officers were on the line crying after they had used all the non-lethal weapons, and he placed phone calls to the Senator and leaders of the county appealing to them to talk to the protesters to back off because the office was out of non-lethal weapon.

However, their leader failed to communicate with them so the police discharged live bullets after the protest began arrogantly by burning down the police station and engaging in other violent acts at which point the police officers discharged live bullets and used whatever they had.

He indicated that wounds on the two deceased are consistent with the weapon and armed nomination of that police officer which indicates that the round could be a round of police officers involved in the Kinjor issues.

Col. Coleman disclosed that for officers that are involved, the shooting team had been set up, and the investigation is ongoing, saying that transparency comes and starts from in.

“We have asked the Association of Liberian Law Enforcement Professionals in the United States to also take a second review of our use of force in this incident as it relates to the death of two of our citizens. However, when that is concluded, we will be releasing it to the public. We will be very open and transparent about it,” he assured.

He again restated that it’s evidence that firearms were discharged and anyone can go to JFK and see the wounds on the body and even get the medical death report released which justified such.

Col. Coleman pointed out that just as he is honest about the use of firearms and the wounds on the bodies, also, there are protesters in the video footage who had single-barrel guns and one person was seen recharging with a round.

“The actual deaths in Kinjor, Grand Cape Mount County is three but two of those three are associated with the riot while the others are between two members from the community when the other stabbed his friend. That person is in police custody. We are investigating the policy in the use of force” IG Coleman stated.

Commenting on a question asked where the officers take instructions before discharging live bullets, he further lamented that the police officers don’t need an order to discharge live bullets if their lives are being threatened.

“Before officers are given firearms, they are trained on the usage. They are also derailed on the use of force policy. They don’t need to call someone before discharging a live bullet because they are trained to do that at which point they should. They are trained to proportionality of force” he asserted.

According to IG Coleman, police has arrested twenty-three persons, three females and twenty males who are undergoing investigation by the LNP at its headquarters in Monrovia. He also noted that of the nine police officers who were wounded, seven had been released while two are still undergoing treatment at the John F. Kennedy Center.

Col. Coleman noted that they have released video footage from the Grand Cape Mount and Caldwell scenes for the public to help with information also.  

Meanwhile, IG Coleman has assured that the situation in Grand Cape Mount County, Kinjor, order has been restored by the LNP and there is some sense of quiet but they are still observing the situation.

According to him, there are other issues in the community that they are still concerned about between different community members who feel that they have been disenfranchised by other communities.

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