Liberia Council of Churches Urges Swift Arrests After Violent Protest at Senator Prince Johnson’s Church

Liberia Council of Churches Urges Swift Arrests After Violent Protest at Senator Prince Johnson’s Church
Liberia Council of Churches Urges Swift Arrests After Violent Protest at Senator Prince Johnson’s Church

Africa-Press – Liberia. The Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) strongly condemns the violent protest that took place at the church of Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson, describing it as an act of “hooliganism.” The LCC has called for the timely arrest of the perpetrators to prevent a recurrence of such incidents, particularly in light of the upcoming presidential and legislative elections in the country.

The LCC, founded in 1982, is an ecumenical Christian organization comprising churches and religious groups operating in Liberia. Senator Prince Y. Johnson, the former rebel leader of the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL), who was involved in the capture, humiliation, torture, and killing of ex-Liberian President Samuel Kanyon Doe in 1990, established the MDR (Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction) shortly before the 2017 general and presidential elections. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Governing Council of the MDR.

On Sunday, May 21, a normal worship service at Senator Johnson’s Christ Chapel of Faith Ministry in Paynesville, outside Monrovia, was disrupted by a violent protest staged by aggrieved youths under the banner of the National Patriotic Party (NPP) Youth Council. The protesters chanted slogans such as “War Crimes Court” and held placards against Senator Johnson, forcing church members to flee for safety.

The incident occurred shortly after Senator Johnson had called on Liberians via Facebook to gather at his church to respond to Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, who had referred to him as a “killer” during an endorsement program for President George Weah. Senator Johnson had initially planned to deliver a sermon on the theme “Dull and Confused Leadership Brings Plague to a Nation,” but changed it due to escalating tensions outside the church.

In a statement released on Monday, May 22, the LCC, under the leadership of President Rev. Samuel Reeves, strongly condemned the act of hooliganism at Senator Johnson’s Christ Chapel of Faith Ministry. The Council stated that the violent act was carried out by individuals believed to be supporters of the National Patriotic Party, and it called on the Ministry of Justice and the Liberia National Police to bring the perpetrators under control, particularly in light of the upcoming elections.

The Council of Churches urged the Ministry of Justice to hold someone accountable for the disturbances at the church and warned that failure to act would set a precedent for future attacks on places of worship across the country. The LCC expressed its concern that worship experiences are now under threat, emphasizing that such acts are highly unacceptable. It cautioned that if impunity continues, it will erode the hard-earned peace established in Liberia over the years.

The LCC called on the Liberia National Police and the Ministry of Justice to arrest those involved in the violent act and urged the National Patriotic Party to support the rule of law and non-violence. Meanwhile, the LCC appealed to the Christian community to remain prayerful and peaceful during the election period while engaging relevant stakeholders to maintain peace.

Senator Johnson has been the subject of personal and verbal attacks since withdrawing his support from President Weah and his party. He accused President Weah of failing to fulfill an agreement reached in 2017 to appoint individuals from Nimba County to strategic positions in government. Senator Johnson also claimed that the government was planning to assassinate him due to his decision to withdraw his support from the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) ahead of the elections.

In response, President Weah denied the allegations, stating that he is not a murderer and has no intention of killing anyone. He accused Senator Johnson of having a tainted character and being a divisive figure who manipulates people to achieve his goals.

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