The group known as Friends of Samukai has confirmed that some of its members were called by the police in Voinjama for questioning after two incidents of petrol bombs were reported in a week in Lofa County.
One was thrown at the election commission sub-office in Voinjama and the latest one at the Police Station in Foya.
According to the Friends of Samukai in a press statement, it is following the investigation and promised to give an update, adding that there is no room for violence in the county now.
Some concerned Lofans have called for the scaring situation to be condemned and that those behind this to be brought to book and published.
“To our members of the Friends of Samukai who were invited for an investigation based on political pressure from politicians, we encourage you to allow the investigators to flow in line with our laws.
“Those who are charged with the constitutional responsibility to investigate this ugly act, we hope you will close your ears on politicians who are making blanket allegations meant to create distraction, tension and confusion to the investigation and remained focus in bring the perpetrators to Justices.”
So far nobody or group have been held liable or taken responsibility but the attacks come at a time some Lofa County citizens are angry over the delay in rendering judgment in the prohibition case at the Supreme Court, thus preventing former Defense Minister J. Brownie Samukai from taking seat as Senator of Lofa County despite being declared winner of the Midterm Senatorial elections of December 8, 2021 on the ticket of the main opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) and by extension the former ruling Unity Party (UP).
In an apparent way of distancing itself from the recent petrol bombs attacks on public facilitates in Lofa County (NEC & LNP), the Friends of Brownie Samukai quickly released the press statement condemning the act and calling on the public to desist from violence and engage directly with various spheres of government to settle issues.
“On behalf of the Friends of Samukai (FOS), we write to condemn in the strongest terms the alleged attack on public buildings (NEC&LNP) and call on the public to desist from violence and destruction and rather to engage directly with the various spheres of government and departments involved in order to address their concerns.
“Members of our communities have to know that when they break the law the security apparatus of the state will have to respond as they have a constitutional mandate to prevent, combat and investigate crime, to maintain public order and to protect and secure inhabitants of the Republic and their property.
“We therefore encourage the public to be vigilant and dismiss false information being deliberately spread to aggravate and indict individuals that are perceived to be perpetrators.
On July 29, 2021, dozens of Lofa citizens in selected districts including Zorzor, Foya and Voinjama woke up as early as 6am and staged a daylong protest against the delayed certification of Senator-elect Samukai.
A number of public facilities including the office of Superintendent William Tamba Kamba were locked by the protesters in demand of the immediate certification of Samukai.
To add insult to injury, recent reports have it that the NEC will declare a vacancy in Lofa County.
And ahead of the NEC reported declaration of a by-election in the county, some residents have threatened to make Lofa County a sovereign state by breaking away from Liberia.
The aggrieved residents said the case has become more political than legal, accusing the government of a ploy to deliberately deny Samukai his seat.
“Even if we don’t complete the process, our kids will continue the process, consultation with our brothers and sisters and other residents of Lofa in the Diaspora is ongoing and our elders and chiefs including traditional leaders have already consented,” Jackson Fallah, a youth leader of the county, said.
“We have been marginalized by this government, we can’t continue like this, we need to be represented at the decision making table.”
“President Weah and his officials know what they are doing, and we the people of Lofa are watching, our unspecified action we will take in the soonest possible time will be harsh, including the declaration of our county as an independent state,” Thomas Momo, a resident of Lofa County, said.
The first post-election incident of petrol bomb attack occurred on the night of March 11, 2021 at the home of Associate Justice Joseph Nagbe within the Beverly Hills community in Banjor, Virginia. The attack took place after Cllr. Nagbe, as the Justice in Chambers, granted a Writ of Prohibition on the certification of former Defense Minister Samukai, as Lofa County Senator-elect based on request from the opposition political party Movement for Progressive Change (MPC) through its Chairman O’Neill Passewe.
Then on March 15, 2021, the headquarters of the National Elections Commission (NEC) in Monrovia suffered serious arson attack from petrol bombs as certain premises of the commission and one of its vehicles were hardly hit. The attack occurred at night time without casualty reported, but the petrol bomb attack came as a surprise after the entire managerial team of the electoral house had left the premises for home.
Investigators from the Liberia National Police (LNP) and other security agencies did not name any suspect from the arson attack although several pieces of unexploded petrol bombs were discovered during the preliminary investigation.
The NEC detailed that unknown persons threw petrol bombs on its compound, which set ablaze a double-cabin pickup with license plate, LB-6868 and the roof of a garage inside the premises.
The Commission estimated cost of damages from the attack at US$45, 000.
Preliminary investigation proved additional unexploded petrol bombs were found near the NEC’s fence on the 10th Street side of the vicinity.
On February 24, 2021, the Supreme Court of Liberia ruled in Samukai’s favor in the electoral dispute case filed by three of his rivals, claiming irregularities and fraud in Lofa County District Number Four.
The Supreme Court mandated the NEC to proceed with the matter.
On February 8, 2021, the Supreme Court upheld a criminal court’s verdict in the corruption case involving Samukai and a former deputy minister and the former Comptroller at the Ministry of Defense.
On March 24, 2020, the Criminal Court “C’’ found Samukai, Joseph F. Johnson and former Deputy Minister for Administration and J. Nyumah Dorkor, former Comptroller of the Ministry of Defense guilty of misappropriating US$1.3 million from the Armed Forces compulsory contributing fund that was deposited at Ecobank Liberia.
Samukai and his lawyers appealed the case. In his ruling issued, Judge Yamie Gbeisay said the government did not produce sufficient evidence to convict Samukai and the other two of money laundering and economic sabotage.
But the Supreme Court in its decision upholding the lower court’s guilty verdict said all public officials and employees shall obey all lawful instructions issued to them by their supervisors and they shall be held liable and responsible for acts of commission or omission as in the case of the corruption verdict.