LIBERIA: Panic Grips New Georgia Over Discovery Of Seemingly ‘RPG Bomb’
Resident Lydia Pennoh, in whose premises the suspected “RPG bomb” was seen, has said that she paid two community boys to keep an eye on the spot throughout the night after some men threatened to pull the metal out of the ground.
The area in question is in Bassa Town, New Georgia Estate, and Lydia says she instructed the boys to cordon the main spot, using blocks and sheets of zinc until trained security personnel could arrive.
According to the lady, the object believed to be Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG) bomb was washed over and unearthed by the downpour on Thursday.
She narrated that while in the house, her kids playing outside at about 9:00 a.m. alarmed that they were seeing a strange object and a man who stopped by said that was an “RPG bomb.”
RPG is a shoulder-held anti-tank weapon that fires rockets equipped with an explosive warhead.
Since the end of the 14-year civil war in 2003, national authorities continue to urge people in all parts of the country to report explosives whenever they see them in the ground because uprooting the objects on their own could be risky.
Trained security officers should be called to carry out explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) operations to avert any possible human threats of loss of limbs or lives.
On Thursday evening, Lydia told LINA that: “I sent for a police officer from the nearby depot this morning and he confirmed it was an unexploded bomb and that it was dangerous for ordinary people to go close to it.”
LINA has not been able to independently get word from the spokesman of the Armed Forces of Liberia, Sam Collins, as his phone would not ring at the time.
However, Lydia said she earlier called him and he assured her that the situation will be taken care of at 8:00 a.m. on Friday. But in a follow-up, it was established that no security personnel visited the scene at said time.
The lady had earlier posted on her Facebook page: “My Liberian people I need help right now! There is an (RPG bomb) found right in front of my house today! I’ve been calling all over but no response!”
The United Nations had appraised the Armed Forces of Liberia as reaching a milestone, when a team of army engineers rapidly responded for the first time to civilian reports of explosive hazard threats on March 1, 2014.
The soldiers had been prepared for Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) during a training delivered by the UN Mine Action Service, as part of the UN Mission in Liberia efforts to transition security responsibilities to Liberian security institutions.
The first call came from a man in Duazon, lower Margibi County who was digging in his backyard when he struck a mortar. When the team arrived, accordingly, they were able to remove and destroy the explosive in a safe location and ensured residents were not put at risk by the operation.