By: E. Geedahgar Garsuah, Sr.
MONROVIA: The Political Leader of the opposition, Alternative National Congress (ANC), Alexander Benedict Cummings, has attributed the increased wave of secret killings across the country to what he characterized as “incompetent and irresponsible” approach in which, he said, the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC)-led government, headed by President George Manneh Weah, is handling the situation in the country.
According to a statement issued over the weekend by Cummings’ ANC, “only an inept and careless government” as the CDC under the leadership of President Weah has proven to be, since taking over the mantle of state authority a failure to provide protection for all of its citizens.
Cummings’ latest condemnation of the government came barely twenty-four hours after a 25-year old woman, identified as Princess Cooper and Melvin Togba, 36, were found brutally murdered on Thursday, March 24, 2022 at separate locations and different time intervals.
“We are seriously concerned that these willful and wanton killings and murders which have been left largely unsolved, have increased fear of insecurity and heightened panic amongst the general citizenry. The broad-day murder of Princess Cooper, 25, and mysterious death of Melvin Togba, 36, have joined the long list of unsolved cases over the last few years,” the ANC Political Leader stated.
Princess Cooper was reportedly discovered dead on Thursday, March 24, 2022, at the ELWA junction in compound said to be owned by the Fawaz Building Materials store; while Melvin Togba was allegedly found dead in his bedroom, in the Jallah Town Community, near Capitol Hill, in Monrovia on the same day.
However, the Government of Liberia (GOL), through a press release issued by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), on Friday, March 26, 2022, ordered immediate autopsies on the remains of Princess Cooper and Melvin Togba, aimed at establishing the actual cause (s) of their death.
According to government’s statement, under the signature of Information Minister, Ledgerhood Julius Rennie, initial examination of Princess’ remains has been carried out by the Liberia National Police (LNP) through the coroner and forensic team.
However, the release said, a full-scale autopsy will be conducted on the body aimed establishing the actual cause of her death.
Two Liberians pathologists, Benedict S. Kolee and Zoebon K. Kparteh, have been designated by the Ministry of Justice to carrying out the conduct of an independent post-mortem examinations on the remains of Melvin Togba and Princess Cooper.
“The Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Justice, has requested the immediate conduct of an autopsy on the bodies of Princess Cooper and Melvin Togba in order to establish what led to their death. Although an initial report by the police coroner and forensic team is available, the conduct of an autopsy will help establish the actual cause of deaths,” Minister Rennie stated in the release.
Howbeit, the ANC leader, in the ANC release, made reference to over seventeen incidences of “mysterious death, political murders and ritualistic killings.”
He further laid the blame squarely at the feet of the CDC-led government for failing to apply all energy and resources aimed at arresting the growing menace of mysterious killings in the country.
Mr. Cummings frowned at the government for miserably failing on its constitutional responsibility to provide protection for all of its citizens, but at the same time applying energy towards the “persecution” of those the government deemed as threat to its political survival.
The ANC leader said: “The Liberian Constitution provides for the security of all persons and yet the government has failed to do so. The time, resources and energy that this government spends on political prosecutions should be spent on finding the culprits of these egregious crimes against our people and giving relief to our sacred, shaken and despondent citizenry.”
Cummings pointed out that the alarming frequencies of mysterious and unsolved killings of peaceful citizens that have characterized the CDC-led government’s four years rule is not only appalling and worrisome but poses serious dangers to the peace and security of the country.
The ANC Political leader further referenced what he referred to as the mysterious deaths of the Internal Audit Agency (IAA) Director General, Emmanuel Barten Nynsuah; Gifty Asmah Lama, Albert Peters, and George Fanbutu all of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA); and Matthew Innis of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), who reportedly had an in-depth knowledge of the alleged missing L$16 billion banknotes in the country.
Cummings also highlighted what he calls the unsolved murder of John Hilary Tubman, son of Liberia’s former President, William V.S. Tubman (late); and William R. Tolbert III, also a son of former Liberian President, William R. Tolbert (late), who was also President of the World Baptist Alliance.
The late Odell Sherman made it to Cummings’ list of seventeen unsolved murders across the country.
“Since the inception of the CDC-government, there are reports of more than 20 mysterious deaths, political murders, ritualistic killings, and disappearances with little or no information to the public on its conclusion, if any. These include the death of John Hilary Tubman, son of former President William V.S. Tubman; Reverend William R. Tolbert III, son of former President William Tolbert; Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) official, Matthew Innis, CBL driver, Kollie Ballah, immigration officer, Ms. Maude Elliot, Head of the Internal Audit Agency Emmanuel Barten Nyesuah, Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), auditors Gifty Asmah Lama, Albert Peters, and George Fanbutu among other,” Cummings stated.
The ANC Political Leader called on the government to provide more resources and logistics to the security apparatus aimed at the sector’s readiness to combat crimes and bring the culprits to face the full weight of the law.
According to Cummings, ordinary citizens have reached the zenith of exercising patient with the government to bring this wanton disregard to human lives under control.
Cummings said: “We call on the CDC government to strengthen its security sector in order to prevent the occurrences of these wanton killings, speed up investigation, and bring to justice those culpable for these heinous crimes. We can no longer accept business as usual while our people die like flies. My condolence goes to families, friends, and loved ones of the victims and to everyone who has lost a loved one under mysterious circumstances without redress.”
However, the Liberian government has conducted series of autopsy on the remains of some of those believed to have been killed as mentioned by the ANC Political Leader.