Security Remains Tense at Police Headquarters in the Wake of Patricks’ Arrest

MONROVIA, Montserrado – Strong security measures are said to be in place at the headquarters of Liberia National Police following the arrest and incarceration of Vandalark Patricks at the Monrovia Central Prison last week.

Patricks is the head of the advocacy group Campaigners for Change, a group that has been calling on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to step down because of corruption and nepotism.

He was arrested by the LNP and indicted by the grand jury at the Temple of Justice for sedition and criminal libel after accusing Sirleaf of ordering the shooting of several opposition figures at the headquarters of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change on November 7, 2011.

Following Patricks’ arrest, his supporters, led by Janjay Barkpeh, threatened to stage series of protest in demand of his release.

On Friday, February 26, journalists including ordinary Liberians who did not have any form of identification were denied from entering the grounds of the LNP.

Both entrances to the police headquarters on the Capitol Bye-Pass were heavily barricaded with the Emergency Response Unit and Police Support Unit fully on alert. Officers of both the ERU and PSU were also seen standing at strategic locations and patrolling the city.

Some of these officers were also deployed at the Temple of Justice.


Vandalark Patricks at the police headquarters. Photo: Zeze Ballah

The heavy presence of the ERU and PSU officers took by-passers by surprise leaving many to wonder what was happening.

Journalists and others who were allowed entry on the grounds of the LNP bags and other personal belongings were thoroughly searched.

According to a police officer who spoke to The Bush Chicken on the basis of anonymity said the Police had received intelligence information that Patricks’ supporters had been planning to stage a protest at the police headquarters last Friday.


A scene at the Congress for Democratic Change headquarters on Nov 7, 2011. Photo: Zeze Ballah

The officer said they did not know who exactly were Patricks’ supporters and were also instructed to turn down any suspicious individuals.

“We were also instructed to arrest anyone found to be carrying any deadly material including a knife, razor blade, etc,” the officer said.

Meanwhile, a statement posted by talk show host Henry Costa of Voice FM via Facebook said opposition leader Benoni Urey had secured a bond to have Patricks released on Monday.

Featured photo by Zeze Ballah

Zeze Ballah

Zeze made his journalism debut as a high school reporter at the LAMCO Area School System. In 2016 and 2017, the Press Union of Liberia awarded Zeze with the Photojournalist of the Year award. Zeze was also the union's 2017 Health Reporter of the Year. He is a Health Journalism Fellow with Internews.

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