As Joint Security Discovers Container of Weapons At Freeport: Liberians In Fear; Worry Over the Peaceful Conduct Of 2023’s Elections

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Citizens are beginning to express concern over the arrival of a huge consignment of military weapons into the country only a few months to the conduct of the 2023 general and presidential elections.

    On Thursday, January 5, 2023 the joint security, led by the Liberia National Police (LNP), arrested a huge consignment of light and heavy military weapons entering the country through the Freeport of Monrovia.

   In a press conference addressed by the Inspector of Police, Col. Patrick Sudue, the joint security informed the public that they received intelligence, through the international partners, that consignments of arms had landed into the country, but swiftly intercepted the shipment before it could depart the port.

    Col. Sudue disclosed that the arrested container has been sealed up, and will later be opened for thorough and proper inspection. He stated that they halted the inspection because it was already under their custody and did not want to spread the information until they could arrest all the culprits linked to the shipment. He named Barbara Debah, a resident of Old Road, as the individual in contact with Benjamin Baker, who shipped the weapons to Liberia. Baker is a Liberian residing in Texas, United States of America.

   He asserted that Barbara Debah has been arrested, along with Melvina M. Payne, the custom broker of the shipment.

   He explained that on Wednesday, January 4, 2023, their investigation led them to G-4 community, Brewerville, where a house was identified to be owned by Benjamin Baker and allegedly serves as an arsenal for smuggled weapons. He said they prayed for search and seizure warrant from the court and their wish was granted early Thursday morning. “During our search, we discovered more arms and ammunition in the ceiling of the house. We also arrested one Ezekiel Tamba, who was also caught hiding in the ceiling,” Col. Sudue noted.

Inspector General of the Liberia National Police (LNP), Col. Patrick sudue

   According to him, arms discovered in the house include Creedmoor 6.5x55mm Assault Rifle, AR10-7.6mm Assault Rifle, Winchester 1894 Pellet Double Barrel Gun and assorted ammunitions. He also named many other deadly weapons used for military warfare as being confiscated from the container seized at the port.

   He further disclosed that a huge consignment of ammunition was confiscated, some of which they did not see the weapons to match. He said they have placed those ammunitions one side, as it is possible that the weapons that match them are in country or are expected to be shipped at a later date.

   He informed pressmen that the confiscated container will be opened Friday, January 6, 2023 for thorough seach search, bit by bit.

   Even though the joint security assured the public that all is being put into place to keep the nation safe, many are beginning to wonder whether or not these weapons are being smuggled by politicians to stir uproar if the elections do not go as they anticipate.

   A political group believed to be in support of President George Weah’s second-term bid, George Win 2023, has insinuated that Benjamin Baker, the individual accused of brining the arms into Liberia, is a strong supporter of Alexander B. Cummings, who did a live podcast when Cummings recently visited the United States.

   Others are saying that the entire episode was a made up scene by the Government of Liberia (GOL) to prove a point to the international community. Henry P. Costa, a staunch supporter of Ambassador Joseph N. Boakai’s presidential bid, has argued that it is absolutely not possible for these weapons to slip through the state-of-the-art container scanners deployed at American ports.

   Costa’s statement is being interpreted by critics of the government as the government being knowledgeable of the arrival of the consignment.

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