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Liberia: Rights Group Wants Defense Minister Step Down for Threats of Violence Against Demonstrators

On one fateful in 1984, then Master Sergeant Samuel K. Doe issued his infamous order to his Minister of Defense, General Gray D. Allison, to “move or be removed.” The order was for Gray D. Allison to order his soldiers to move against the University of Liberia’s students who were demonstrating for the arrests of opposition figures, including Dr. Amos Sawyer. As a result of that order, members of the Liberian armed forces were un-leased by Gray D. Allison on the university of Liberia’s students resulting in several number of deaths, rapes and tortures among the students. This attack was considered one of the seeds contributed to the Liberian crisis. On April 6, 2013, Mr. Brownie Samukia, frequently described as the Minister of Defense of the current Liberian government led by Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, declared that he has decided to use lethal force against unarmed Liberian citizens who were planning to demonstrate on April 12, 2013. A move Liberia Human Rights Campaign, or LHRC, described as a total disregard for human lives, and a reminiscence of the senseless massacres of innocent Liberians during the 14-year Liberian civil conflict.

On April, 18, 2013, Mr. Samukai, in a defiant spirit said he stood by his statement that would have led to the massacre of unarmed Liberian citizens whose only crimes would have been exercising their constitution rights to freely assemble and express themselves. Samukai’s statement was to incite fear among the Liberian people by resurrecting in their memories of the climate of terror that existed during the 14-year Liberian crisis when various warring factions would massacre innocent Liberians at will. Samukia’s threats to unleashed lethal weapons against young Liberians who simply wanted to draw the government’s attention to their plights affected by nepotism, unemployment, corruption, injustice and other laundry list of inequities that are plaguing the Sirleaf government is inspired by the existing culture that certain people in Liberia are above the law. A notion that have been strengthened by the Sirleaf government’s refusal to implement the final report of the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, or TRC.

LHRC sees the continuing presence of Mr. Brownie Samukai as Minister of Defense for the Republic of Liberia mounts to a clear and present danger to the people of Liberia which hold a potential of reversing Liberia’s continuing forward trend of stability to those days of the Liberian crisis when killing of unarmed and innocent people was fashionable.

Based on all the above, Liberia Human Rights Campaign, Liberia’s premier Diaspora human rights movement or organization, has resolved and recommend the following to the President of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf;

•LHRC believes that Mr. Samukai by wishing violence and death through the unleashing of lethal force upon the unarmed Liberian citizens that would have led to hundreds, if not thousands of innocent deaths and injuries, has lost the level of moral responsibility required by of any individual of such status. As result, President Sirleaf should request his resignation or dismiss him.

•LHRC believes, and which to remind Madam President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and Mr. Brownie Samukia, that the powers embedded within the responsibilities of the Minister of Defense are no play toys that anyone can fantasy to use.
•LHRC believes, as the government and others keep insisting that Liberians refrain from violence, and that peaceful means are the only way to address our differences, that same responsibility or restrain must be by exercised by government officials as well

•LHRC believes Mr. Samukai, by such statement to use lethal force against armed Liberians who were only seeking redress from their government has not only politicized the Armed Forces of Liberia, but reign disrepute on the entire Liberia’s security apparatus

•LHRC believes Mr. Samukai, as Minister of Defense, the nation’s highest security official, who suppose to exercise reasoning and balanced approach in discharging his duties seems to lack the capacity to provide equal protection for all Liberians
•LHRC believes by this statement, Mr. Samukia has taken side in Liberia’s internal political debate, and that side is to defend the Sirleaf government through force and violence, even if it means killing innocent and unarmed Liberians.

•LHRC believes, President Sirleaf’s continuing confidence in Mr. Samukai beyond this point will be considered a conspiracy within the government to kill innocent and unarmed Liberians, a practice President Sirleaf has fought against in both the Doe and Taylor regimes

Signed By
P. Nimely-Sie Tuon
General Coordinator
Liberia Human Rights Campaign
Email: liberiahrcampaign@mail.com

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