Police in Pursuit of Two Prime Suspects Linked to Murder of US Citizen

By Josephus Moses Gray
Monrovia, Liberia

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

May 27, 2004

In a joint operation, the Liberia National Police and the international police force under the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) are vigorously pursuing two prime suspects linked to the killing of John Auffrey of the U.S. Military Assessment Mission to Liberia. The prime suspects were identified as Emmanuel Mulbah (Boye T. Moore), and Charles Thomas.

For the past three days, the police have kept the identity of the victim until May 27, apparently to enable the police to gather more details. Mr. Auffrey, deputy head of the 30-man high power U.S. military assessment mission to Liberia was on Monday night, 24 May attacked and stabbled to death by unknown men at his Mamba Point Hotel room. Col. Christine Massaquoi, Director of the Liberia National Police has confirmed that a “homicide” has occurred as a result of a burglary.

Police Director Massaquoi in an interview with the international wire on May 26 said the victim was a high profile American citizen of the Defense Department and a member of the U.S. Military Assessment Mission dispatched to Monrovia to carry out a flexibility study on the restructure of the Armed Force of Liberia (AFL).

According to the Liberia Police Chief, the victim was found dead in his hotel room on Monday night

To effect quick arrest of the two prime suspects, a reward of US$4,000.00 has been offered to anyone who will give information that will lead to the arrest of the culprit, while the police is pursuing them. Out of the amount, the US Ambassador to Liberia, John Blaney, offered US$1,000.00, while the government offered US$3,000.00.

Commenting on the killing of the American citizen, the head of the UN International Police in Liberia, Col. Mark Crakor said Liberians can perform their national obligations by given credible information for the arrest of the two suspects who are on the run. According to him, the public can call “911” to give the information on the culprits.

Speaking live on UN run radio UNMIL, Col. Crakor said that “the time has come for the two suspects to bear the consequences of their actions.” He, therefore, warned that they must turn themselves in if their rights are to be secured.

The international police chief warned that if both suspects do not give themselves up, they risk being captured and cannot underestimate the consequent that may occur in the process of their capture by the public. According to report, the police have picked-up several individuals who are assisting the police with the ongoing probe. The police is protecting the total numbers of individuals picked-up and their identities on grounds that releasing their identities will hamper the ongoing investigation.

Meanwhile, the murder of the U.S. citizen has received massive condemnations from various sectors of the Liberian society, with citizens expressing fears about their security. Those spoken to described the killing as counter productive to the Liberian fragile peace process.

A member of the National transitional Legislative Assembly (NTLA), Representative Toe said the killing of the high profile U.S. citizen has the propensity to create fears among Liberians who do not have adequate security protection. He wants the Liberia National Police and others state security institutions to help UNMIL bring the culprits to justice. The Ministry of National Defense has also condemned the killing of the U.S. citizen and vowed to help the police and UNMIL to arrest and bring to justice the perpetrators of the act. The ministry says it is investigating the killing and will dispatch a team of intelligent officers to assist in the process.

Following the killing, the cabinet of the transitional government held an emergency meeting at the Executive Mansion on Capitol Hill. During the meeting held on 25 May, Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant expressed his government regrets and mandated the appropriate government agencies including the Ministries of Justice and National security to bring the culprits to justice.

Chairman Bryant was scheduled to leave the country on May 26 for New York where he is expected to address the United Nations Security Council for the lifting of sanctions on Liberia.

The management of the Mamba Point Hotel has issued a press statement and confirmed that the American citizen was discovered dead at his hotel room on Monday night.

Following the incident, the management said it informed the Liberia National police and authorities at the US Embassy. The management further revealed that the police is probing circumstance surrounding the death of the American citizen.