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Friday, June 14, 2024

STAND DEMANDS FULL INVESTIGATION INTO SUSPICIOUS DEATH OF AFL SERGEANT BOBBY MANNEH

Date:

MONROVIA – STAND (Solidarity and Trust for a New Day) has expressed deep sorrow over the tragic death of AFL Sergeant Bobby Manneh, extending heartfelt sympathy to his bereaved family. In a recent press statement, STAND addressed the shocking death of Sergeant Manneh, which was first announced by the Armed Forces of Liberia’s (AFL) Public Affairs office. According to the AFL, the incident occurred on Thursday, May 30, 2024, at approximately 10:45 PM while Sergeant Manneh was on guard duty at the Edward Binyah Kesselly Barracks in Schiefflin, Lower Margibi County.

The AFL’s statement claimed that Sergeant Manneh “took his own life while on guard post,” discharging several bullets into his own head. Following the incident, the AFL notified the Liberia National Police (LNP), which dispatched officers from its Homicide Division to the scene. The AFL concluded that Sergeant Manneh’s death was a suicide.

However, this conclusion has raised several important questions:

  1. Forensic Investigation: Did the AFL high command rely on the outcome of a forensic investigation from its own Military Police unit before concluding that Sergeant Manneh died by suicide? The Liberian army, as a professional institution, is expected to conduct a preliminary investigation of such incidents to provide a basis for any early assumptions about the cause of death.
  2. Role of the LNP: Now that the LNP’s Homicide Division is involved, is the LNP the lead investigator in this case, or are they merely assisting the AFL’s investigation?
  3. Weapon and Eyewitnesses: Was Sergeant Manneh assigned a weapon on the night of the incident? If so, what weapon was it, and which of his army colleagues were on duty with him that night? Were there any eyewitnesses to his alleged suicide?
  4. Injury Analysis: How many self-inflicted gunshot injuries did Sergeant Manneh suffer, and what is the pattern of projectiles on his body? Are there visible injuries to his upper or lower extremities?
  5. Sergeant Manneh’s History: According to the AFL, Sergeant Manneh had an impeccable military record with no signs of suicidal behavior. Has he ever attempted to harm himself or commit suicide before?

These questions are crucial for understanding the circumstances of Sergeant Manneh’s death and ensuring a thorough and transparent investigation. STAND is urging the Boakai administration to support a swift and impartial investigation to ensure justice and strengthen public confidence in the nation’s troubled justice system.

STAND also called on His Excellency President Boakai to prioritize a credible investigation, emphasizing the importance of addressing the diverse narratives already circulating in the public square. Public disbelief is particularly strong regarding the improbable claim that Sergeant Manneh shot himself in the head multiple times.

The organization noted that this issue is not unique to the army. In 2021, a similar incident occurred when Executive Protection Service (EPS) Agent Melvin Earley was reported to have shot himself in the head three times. Earley’s family rejected the suicide claim, alleging he was shot in the abdomen, chest, and head.

STAND highlighted a pattern of suspicious deaths within Liberia’s security apparatus, which suggests a dangerous subculture operating outside official corridors. The AFL’s suicide claim regarding Sergeant Manneh, a professional and patriotic soldier, has therefore raised alarms.

STAND calls on the LNP to reopen the Melvin Earley case to conduct a thorough, transparent, and unbiased investigation, given the similarities between Earley’s death and Sergeant Manneh’s. Research by STAND indicates that multiple gunshot wounds to the head typically suggest homicide rather than suicide. Forensic experts generally regard such circumstances with suspicion, warranting a thorough investigation to rule out foul play.

Given this context, STAND believes that Sergeant Bobby Manneh’s death should be treated as a homicide, not a suicide.

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