The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

“AFL Will Not Shield Any Solider For Wrongdoing” –Gen. Prince Johnson Assures

The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Major General Prince C. Johnson has vowed to give justice to a rape victim who was allegedly raped by an AFL Officer around 2017 but is yet to get justice, assuring the public that they will not shield any officer getting involving in what he called disgraceful act.
With a very strong voice, the AFL Chief denounced all forms of violence against women, and girls, stressing that the AFL is especially ZERO tolerant against illicit drugs and rape, adding that his organization will do everything possible to punish any officer as always to maintain its well-earned and merit reputation.
General Johnson emphasized that the new AFL will never protect or keep any officer who has been accused of rape and drug abuse with evidence being provided to remain in the service but rather be disrobed and turned over to be tried by law.
According to him there have been six (6) rape cases and eighteen (18) drug cases before this one, involving AFL Officers who have all been disrobed and turned over to the Justice Ministry to face trial for their crimes as per the memorandum signed with that Minister.
He spoke yesterday as guest speaker during the official launch and validation of the Spotlight Initiative, a comprehensive sexual gender based violence prevention strategy for Liberia which happened to be the first in the region with the objective of ending SGBV in the country.
The AFL Boss continued his delivery by saying that violence against women is a serious security threat with the power to undermine the country’s peace, social and economic development because its devastating effects can be seen in homes, communities among others.
General Johnson named some steps that can be taken to protect the security of women and girls preventing SGBV as: not just enforcing existing law but also educating citizens to understand the law, engaging men and boys on how they can protect women and make the entire society a safe place for women.
He also mentioned the great impact of systemic awareness involving all actors, the LNP, Justice, traditional leaders, his own AFL among others, while also empowering women and promoting gender equality in all sectors; and lastly making security issues of women a part of political agenda.
He concluded by assuring that the AFL will do everything humanly possible to maintain its level of respect and grading from citizens as well as their organization; not shielding any officer who breaks the law thereby bringing shame and embarrassment to the institution.
Also speaking at the occasion was the UN Resident Coordinator, Kingsley Amaning who lauded the EU, Sweden, as well as the UN for joining hands and efforts to end violence against women, girls and vulnerable groups in the country, referring to the occasion as a major milestone for the people of Liberia.
He noted that before then emphasis was on response, but it is now shifting for prevention because of the lack of resources which was further aggravated by the gravity of the problem faced by the government which makes response inadequate without prevention.
“Prevention needs to be the foundation of all efforts in ending sexual gender-based violence of the government. The Strategy I understand, will engage to work on changing social norms at the individual, family, community and organizational levels. It means, we need to work with all actors, the government, civil society organizations, communities and the national traditional council of elders and chiefs, if we are to succeed,” said Mr. Amaning.
“From January to September this year, a total to 2,018 incidents of violence were reported, of which 1,363 were rape cases. 70% of the rape cases involved children below 17 years. Of the 2,018 cases only 14 cases have been convicted. This is appalling. This underlines the reason why we need to focus on Prevention. the need to work collectively on prevention and response to end all forms violence,” he added.
According to him, prevention will enable response efforts to be effectively used, create awareness, understand impacts, influence decision makers, share information on services and importantly bring change in social norms and behaviors that will prevent violence from taking place.
The UN Resident Coordinator therefore stressed the need to disseminate the strategy and implement it at the national, subnational, community, household and individual levels in the selected Spotlight counties by various actors like government line ministries, Justice, Health, Education, Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Finance, Development and Planning to collectively own the implementation plan of the Strategy and ensure its implementation under the leadership of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.

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