News / Africa

Liberia’s President Calls for Probe of West Point Ebola Violence

West Point residents stand behind a green string marking a holding area, as they wait for a second consignment of food from the Liberian Government to be handed out, at the West Point area, near the central city area of Monrovia, Liberia, Friday, Aug. 22,
West Point residents stand behind a green string marking a holding area, as they wait for a second consignment of food from the Liberian Government to be handed out, at the West Point area, near the central city area of Monrovia, Liberia, Friday, Aug. 22,
James Butty

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has called for creation of a board of inquiry to look into last week’s Ebola-related rioting and deadly shooting in the West Point slum of Liberia’s capital, Monrovia. 

Information Minister Lewis Brown said the board will have 10 days to submit its findings to the president.

The government quarantined West Point last Wednesday as part of an effort to contain the deadly Ebola virus.  

Soldiers opened fire and used tear gas on residents as they attempted to stop the government from evacuating their commissioner from the township.

At least four residents were wounded and one of them, a 16 year-old boy, has died of his wounds.  

Defense Minister Brownie Samukai told VOA last week soldiers did not shoot at the residents, and claimed the wounded were trying to break a barbed wire security barrier.  

Relatives of the dead boy said he died from gunshot wounds.

“Unfortunately, we’ve had reports of three injuries.  One has died.  The government is in touch with the family.  We’ve expressed our deepest condolences.  The president has, meanwhile, ordered the defense minister to set up a board of inquiry and within 10 days determine the facts and circumstances leading to the situation last Wednesday and report to her for further action,” he said.

“Of course, the order of the president was to use non-lethal force.  That’s why she has ordered the immediate setting up of a board of inquiry to report to her within 10 days on the facts and circumstances as to what happened on Wednesday,” Brown continued.

There have been calls for an independent investigation because some residents of West Point have said they don’t believe the army can be impartial.

Brown said the army will be fair using its own internal investigative process.

“Usually in these types of boards the military has its own internal mechanisms to deal with inquiries.  They have their own sets of rules.  As you know, they’re guided by a code of military justice; they have specific instructions as to engagements,” he said.

Some Liberians have said the violence in West Point was the result of the government’s lack of coordination in managing the Ebola crisis.  Others have even called for the privatization of the country’s response to the crisis.

Brown said the government respects the rights of all Liberians to express their opinions. But, he said, allegations of government incompetence are untrue.

“We have never hidden the fact that this is a difficult situation and we have requested assistance from our international partners.  Thankfully, they are responding to this serious emergency.  And so, those who have opinions other than what we’re doing, we welcome those opinions.  But, our duty continues to be to focus on this crisis.  We’ll do the Monday morning quarterbacking when this is over,” Brown said.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More