The opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) has strongly denounced the violent shootout between the Liberia National Police and gang members in Duala, which led to the reported deaths of three individuals. In a statement released on Wednesday, November 24, the opposition group called on the Government of Liberia to provide proper security for its citizens through a number of recommended platforms.
The three died reportedly from stray bullets from the side of the police during the shootout, which took place on Nov. 23. Their deaths came after the police and a team of joint security officers attempted to raid ghettos in Duala, Bushrod Island, where some of the country’s hardcore gang members have their hideout.
But the raid backfired, resulting in some alleged fierce exchange of gunfire between police and gang members, who were armed with single barrel guns, and not afraid to take on the police who came with superior weapons. But some eyewitnesses from the scene said the only people with guns that day were the police.
For the CPP, regardless of the rationale behind the police shooting, they are very concerned with the increased loss of lives through any violent action and it is crime against innocent lives that are being lost.
The CPP added that lives are being lost because the government is incapable of providing security for the country and the people and that the increase in criminal activities is a result of the unprecedented economic hardship and the ever-increasing illegal drug trafficking and selling.
“While the CPP takes note of the police and other security agencies for undertaking their responsibility of beginning to fight crimes and raid criminal hideouts and ghettos, this venture is coming at a time when the government has completely failed to provide security for the country and its citizens. People race home daily beginning the early afternoon hours in order to get off the streets before dark to avoid attacks from criminals,” CPP said in a press release.
The Nov. 23 shooting incident took place in broad daylight, at a time when gang members, most of whom are drug addicts, are out lurking around unsuspecting victims. The team descended on ‘Kuwait’, a neighborhood in Duala, Bushrod Island. “Our Police came under firing attack and that made the police apply proportional force,” disclosed Police spokesman, Moses Carter.
“We will let the public know the details about those rushed there, should the report be made available to us. Two single barrel arms with 48 rounds have so far been seized from one of the ghettos raided in the operation,” Carter said. “Five empty shells of the single barrel arm had been discharged.”
The area of the shootout is home to hardcore drug addicts who usually terrorize people with cutlasses and guns, according to the Police. The number of criminals on the streets of Monrovia and its environs has grown within the last few years and new groups continue to emerge, making the citizenry live in apprehension of fear from these criminals.
They are notorious for coming out at night, even in broad daylight, to terrorize and steal from people. Their hideouts are most often visible and in the public glare. Carter added that the exchange of fire between the criminals and the Police left three persons reportedly unconscious and “were rushed to the John F. Kennedy Medical Center.”
He further reported that fourteen alleged hardcore criminals were arrested and they are in Police custody, pending investigation.
“Create an Improve’
Meanwhile, the CPP noted that it is in the national best interest for the government to prioritize providing proper security for its citizens by revamping the security sector with special emphasis on improved training for personnel of the Liberia National Police, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and other law enforcement agencies.
“The government should also divert its attention to funding elaborate rehabilitation programs for disadvantaged youths (or Zogos), with rehabilitation programs initiated across the country,” the release added. “Creating an improved environment for increased economic activities that would create job opportunities for trained disadvantaged young people will contribute toward reducing the crime rate across the country.”
The CPP believes that a responsible government with financial discipline, political will, and proper governance can achieve a much improved and secured society for Liberia and its people. The statement added that drug abuse by those disadvantaged youths has also turned them into hardened marauding criminals, with no apparent actions taken by the government to rehabilitate and have them reintegrated into society as good citizens.