By D. Kaihenneh Sengbeh
A gang of armed robbers early Thursday morning (March 24) attacked the Gaye Dukpaye Community in Bardnersville Township, chopped an 18-year-old 12th Grade student and made away with several valuables plus cash.
The incident occurred around 2 a.m. in Josiah Estate of the Gaye Dukpaye Community that is situated on the fringes of the Bardnersville Housing Estate and adjacent the Bardnersville Cemetery, behind Area F.
The robbers, who were said to be ten in number, fired three rounds of single barrel and broke into two houses of the Josiah Estate, made away valuables and left the community terrorized, before police arrived on the scene hours later. The wounded was taken to hospital as police has launched an investigation, frightened residents said.
They broke into the home of Mr. Naisehkar Glauseay, the Quality Assurance Manager at Liberia Revenue Authority (currently on leave in Kenya) before extending their mission to his next door neighbor, Thomas Wesseh Sullie, downed by hypertension for the last several years. “I am glad that nothing happened to me because you know that I am a pressure (hypertension) patient,” he told this writer.
The robbers looted a large flat screen TV, a lap top, clothes and other valuables from Glauseay’s house, while they took away unspecified amount of cash in Liberia and United States dollars from Wesseh’s home before chopping his 18-year-old son, Thomas Wesseh Sullie, Jr in the right breast with a machete. Sullie, Jr is a 12th grade student of the Canterbury Episcopal High School on the Bardnersville Road.
“They did not really come to us,” Wesseh explained. “They really came to Mr. Glauseay’s house, but because we were shouting rogue, rogue, for the community to be informed, that’s how they got angry and threatened to come to us. They fired three times to scare off people and intervention.”
Wesseh said the robbers broke into his house through the back door and terrorized them. “They took away the school’s money my wife brought home because she is the registrar at Watt Daycare School [in Bardnersville]. Then, they chopped my son on his right breast.”
T-Wee, as he is popularly called, is a former employee of the Executive Mansion who was downsized and suffered a stroke in the aftermath almost a decade back. He has not fully recovered, and he said one of the attackers recognized him. “The Papay [Oldman] is sick; let us leave him and go,” he quoted one of the robbers as saying.
“I want to thank God that we did not lost a life; these guys were armed with single barrel guns, and this is a serious security issue. We need to reactivate the vigilante group to protect ourselves like we have done in the past,” he said.
Meanwhile Glauseay told this writer from Nairobi, Kenya, that he is worried, hoping that the attack is not targeted. “I hope the attack was not a targeted one with aim to kill me. I say this because I am told the guys came directly to my house and warned the neighbors that they have not come to them but to me. That alone is worrisome and even though I am away, I am equally horrified like the rest of my neighbors since in fact that is the very first time this sort of activity has occurred in the community,” he said.
Police, who are reportedly investigating the incident, took away the three empty single barrel shells and statement from victims and community members. The community chair Benedict N. Broplen said they are particularly angry with the Liberia National Police which failed to come to their rescue, when called upon and needed most to save lives and properties.
Residents of the community are said to be in serious fear, as more security alarm continues to sound across the country in the wake of the UN Peacekeeping Mission drawdown.
From some 15,000 in 2003, the UN Mission has over the years dwindled to 3,882 total uniformed personnel, 2,626 troops, 77 military observers, 1,179 police (including formed units).
Both Police Inspector General Chris Massaquoi and Defense Minister Brownie Samukai, who have respectively complained of limited security funding, said the security of the state will be secured in the absence of the UN Mission.
Besides petty thefts, no incident of armed robber has occurred in the Gaye Dukpaye Community for the last 25 years, resident said. “The whole community is scare and discussing the situation; this kind of thing has never happened here before,” Wilvena G. Dweh, a student journalist born and raised in the community said.
“I is shocked and worrisome. The vice chairperson, Col Elizabeth Harmon [of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization] called me around 2 to3 am to inform me, and we contacted the police,” Mr. Benedict chair said. He said he will call a general meeting with the aim of galvanizing the community’s youth to reorganize the community night watch team, while caling on the police to extend patrols there.
“We have to get on our feet to protect our community,” Abbas J. Gbollie, the community’s youth chair added.