By: J K K Peah
Liberians woke up Monday to news of heavy shooting in the western part of the country on Sunday night, specifically in Fulah Hill Community in Sasstown, Bomi County 32 kilometers north of the country’s capital, Monrovia. According to reports from our corespondent in Liberia, the Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, Lemuel Reeves and the local authority of the political sub-division of Liberia, Bomi County Superintend, Samuel Brown have confirmed the presence of armed gunmen in the county..
According to local dailies in Liberia, a local chief, Emmanuel Dakina told reporters invited to the a fact-finding mission by the Liberian government to the area, a farmer who was on his farmer working, told him saw helicopter dropped off heavy armed men in the Fulah Hill Community where he farmed but was quiet fled the scene saying the armed men he believe the armed men did not see him and fled to town and informed the town and informed him(chief) of the presence of the armed men.
The Liberian government has deployed the army and police (Emergency Response Unit-ERU) to the area and held a joint security meeting, assuring the residents of government protection and that they be calmed as the government conducts investigation into the alleged invasion of armed me into the country.
The resident interviewed also said the local radio station is airing a government’s plead to all able-body men help in hunting down the unknown armed men in the country.
Another resident interviewed told “The New Dispensation that no one is traveling to western Liberia now for fear of being caught up in the shooting, noting “you know we have war experience from the prolong civil war we went through… anything that is coming, if it is war, we’ll still to our areas and if the war comes, that’s it, nothing we can do and what will be will be”.
Liberia is recovering from a protracted civil war which started on Christmas Day 1989 and ended in 2003 and the country held its first post-war election in 2005, electing Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as President and making history by electing the first African female President.
According local authorities in Sasstown, there is no casualty from the shooting and incursion but reporters visiting the Fulah Hill Community in Sasstown, Bomi County say bullet shells, and unexploded bullets along with several beer bottles were seen recovered from the scene which appears like a war zone and has taken them for testing and investigation.
Liberia was protected by a United Nations International Force since 2003 to keep the peace that was brokered between two warring factions that fought each other for 14 years but officially ended their mission about two weeks ago and left.
The government is preventing the eye-witness who saw helicopter dropping off the armed men from talking to the press on grounds of “security concern’,’ report from the Liberian media says.
This latest arm incursion is something Liberians had feared when the UN international force left the country and could be a test for the President Sirleaf government to keep the peace and stability of the country as a sovereign government and not 14 years of reliant on foreign forces’ protection.