LIBERIA: Citizens Want Ganta Home Demolition Investigated

A group of Liberian citizens hailing from Nimba County are calling on the government of Liberia to conduct a thoroughly impartial investigation into recent peace-threatening events in Nimba County. The Ganta Support Group (GSG) says such investigation should establish the circumstances surrounding what it calls ‘illegal demolition of homes’ and burning of a warehouse in Ganta.

The two incidents caused the city of Ganta to come to a standstill, causing public panic.

Two weeks ago, on April 19, officers from the Liberia National Police Support Unit (PSU) assigned at the Regional Gbarnga Security Hub effected an eviction notice from the circuit court in Sanniquelle, Nimba County – thereby making scores of people homeless. But the GSG says the police action was illegal and caused victims to lose cash and other valuable properties to criminals.

According to GSG, the LNP acted on an outdated 2019 court order that was not executed because it was not served to party litigants, therefore could not be a legitimate and legal basis for police eviction and demolition actions at 4am when people, women, children, elderly, sick, were in bed.

“Without any legitimate written notice, the PSU vandalized the homes and businesses of the Donzo, Jabateh, and Kromah families on behalf of one Fred Suah. The 2019 court order wasn’t served. The law says one should be served first. In this case the people weren’t served. If they weren’t served and they were attacked at 4am in the morning, then, there’s no court order.

“This unprovoked attack on the families of the Donzo, Jabateh, and Kromah was no doubt masterminded by a notorious land grabber, Fred Suah, even though this particular piece of land was legitimately deeded to these families that have owned, developed and lived on it for over 50 years up to, including and beyond the period of the Liberian civil war,” the group says.

The group’s coordinator, Alpha D. Jabateh, says the demolition carried out by the police without a legitimate court order not only presents a nefarious objective by Mr. Suah but also sets a dangerous precedence that could undermine Liberia’s prevailing peace, especially in Nimba.

“We believe that such unwarranted behavior has the propensity to derail the peace and harmonious living arrangements our people have enjoyed for so long. In view thereof, we are calling on the authorities to swiftly investigate this violent demolition of the properties of the Donzo, Jabateh, and Kromah families by Liberia National Police and agent provocateurs in collaboration with Mr. Fred Suah. Anything contrary to an expeditious investigation will not only embolden the perpetrators but also undermine respect for rule of law and due process,” Mr. Jabateh says.

The group also says that in the absence of a thorough criminal investigation, it finds it difficult to believe that people sent to court in connection with the burning of the warehouse are the real committers of the crime. GSG believes in order for government to not be seen as being used by anti-peace agents for wrongful targeting of people, a full-scale investigation must be commissioned to establish the facts.

On April 28, the police sent four persons to court for their alleged role in burning the warehouse.

Meanwhile, GSG and its collaborating organizations have expressed appreciation peace-loving people, both in Liberia in the Diaspora, for speaking out against what it calls ‘disturbing discretional abuse of power’ by the police at the expense of the country’s fragile peace.

Source: Samuka V. Konneh

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About Cholo Brooks 17959 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.

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