Brownie Samukai, Liberia’s Defense Minister, has released an official statement in which he said that the troops which are enforcing the West Point slum Ebola quarantine in Monrovia did not shoot directly at residents on Wednesday, August 20.
He added that a large crowed formed mostly from youths, attacked the soldiers around the Ebola quarantine building. They were sent there to rescue Aisha Flowers, the commissioner of the area, who had been held hostage.
Samukai also said that the soldiers fired shots in the air so that the protesters would disperse. Three persons were wounded, but Samukai said that they weren’t wounded by the gunfire, but by trying to cross over a barb wire barricade.
This morning, a group of unruly residents came and began to attack the police and military personnel, throwing rocks, sticks, anything they could put their hands on. And, they went to attack the residence of the district commissioner. It was within the context of that that shots were fired in the air, I repeat, in the air to disperse the crowds.
The national director of Liberia Campaigners for Change, Patricks, said that the soldiers did in fact use live fire on the protesters. The Liberia Campaigners for Change is a human rights organization. He added in a statement:
I’m telling you live bullets were used. A 15 year-old boy by the name of Sylvester Kromah was shot in the leg by the Liberian army, the AFL (Armed Forces of Liberia). When he went to rescue one of his family members, who also received a bullet in the process, his leg was shot by the AFL soldiers.
One of the three people who were wounded in the incident broke their leg while attempted to breach a security line, it was revealed by Liberia’s Defense Minister.
He also added that the government does not want to increase the hardship of the people and that the state of emergency and the curfew established were there to minimize human-to-human contact, so that the Ebola virus would stay as detained as possible.
Patricks, though, has other thoughts on the Ebola quarantine. He’s saying that the curfew and the state of emergency have deprived the people of the slum of their livelihood.
What are your thoughts on this matter? Do you think that a curfew is really the way to go when dealing with an epidemic? Please share your comments in the section below!