A night-time curfew has been imposed with effect from April 1 “until further notice” in Liberia’s south-eastern Maryland County after the escape of 90 inmates from the Harper Central Jail, according to a presidential decision reported Thursday by local media.
From 6 p.m. (1800 GMT) to 6 a.m. (0600 GMT), “this curfew will be strictly enforced by the police, who will be supported by the joint security forces,” said George Weah, Liberia’s head of state.
The decision was prompted by the flight of prisoners after thousands of protesters vandalized the prison on March 30. They were looking for an alleged murderer.
For several days, the protesters have been demanding “the speedy trial of 18-year-old suspect Moses Mlamah, accused of murdering 22-year-old motorcyclist Mocdicious Nyemah on March 25, 2021,” reports The New Dawn, a local website.
The victim was chopped to death by his executioner in the town of Bassiken in the Pleebo District of Maryland County, according to Liberia Police spokesman Moses Carter, quoted by the same media source.
Police were negotiating with the protesting motorcyclists to have the case concluded by July 2021, but fearing a denial of justice they rioted, according to him.
At the same time, “some of them engaged in unwarranted acts of destruction against private property and public facilities, including the burning of police stations and other government buildings,” the Liberian president denounced.
The government will not tolerate any “lawlessness or violence” from anyone, Weah warned.
Nevertheless, he assured that the murder demanded “the urgent attention of the government and will be promptly and thoroughly investigated”.