LURD fighters Storms Government Ministry In Monrovia

By: J. Wesley Washington


The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted October 27, 2003

It was a scene of confusion, chaos and disbelief yesterday, when men believed to be loyal to the rebel group, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) stormed the Ministry of Finance to forcibly make their way in to the premises.

According to eyewitnesses, the men numbering about 20 and who came in three Pajero Jeeps and a green pickup “just to inspect the building”, as they claimed.

“The men insisted on seeing the Minister, and when they were refused entry by unarmed police, they tried to break the lock of the gate and forcibly drive into the premises of the Ministry” the eye witnesses said.

The standoff lasted a little over 30 minutes when their request to see Minister Lusine Kamara was granted for four of them to be escorted to his office. They held closed-door discussions with him and later came down and ordered their colleagues to leave to jeering and boos from onlookers.

The reports corroborated with that of the Solicitor-General-designate of the Republic of Liberia. Cllr. Theophilus Gould said it all began when LURD spokesman Charles Bennie went to the Ministry of Finance to take over from Madam Fatu White as Commissioner of Customs and Excise.

He was told that he could not take-over until there was some form of communication from the Chairman of the transitional government.

He left, according to Cllr. Gould quoting on-lookers, and threatened to come back.
According to Minister Gould, he did go back yesterday morning and was stopped by uniformed unarmed police manning the entrance of the premises.

When he went to the Ministry of Justice later that morning, he was confronted about going to the Ministry, Bennie confirmed going to the Ministry but to see Finance Minister Lusine Kamara. He promised to get the matter cleared.

Following the morning incident, Cllr. Gould continued, he later got a call that there was chaos and confusion at the Ministry with men believed to be fighters of LURD insisting on entering the premises of the Ministry with threats that they had the ability to use grenades and other weapons that would cause injury and destruction.

He added, for UNMIL re-enforcement who came in immediately but by then the LURD fighters had already left.

Cllr. Gould, who is also a Deputy Justice Minister-designate appealed to the Chairman of the Transitional Government to get in touch with the mediators and facilitators to ensure that an interim police begins functioning immediately.

The INQUIRER made efforts to speak to Fatu White the incumbent Commissioner of Customs and Excise. Her special assistant referred us to Minister Kamara.

When we caught up with Minister Kamara, he referred us to the Ministry’s spokesman, Koloba Spencer as he was hurrying to the Executive Mansion.

We caught up with Mr. Spencer who said he had not been briefed on the happening and as such did not have much to say.

© 2003: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.