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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid