Via FrontPageAfrica: Five Counties Quarantined - State of Emergency Create Uneasiness. Excerpt:
Patrick Kollie a commercial driver is stuck behind a makeshift checkpoint at Clay Junction in Bomi County. He said he has been there for hours and that the Armed Forces of Liberia has refused them entry into the side that leads to Monrovia. Kollie is angry that the government did not properly inform people before taking steps to quarantine the area.
“The security told us that we have not been going to Monrovia for 21 days. We’ve been standing here for over seven hours,” he said. “I saw some of them trying to advance arms and I decided to leave the area and go to sit elsewhere. They said three days fast and prayer, but to our uttermost surprise they are saying we can’t go to Monrovia. Is this the fast and prayer we’re going through by denying us movement to see our family? This is unfair.”
The AFL is deployed in the region to restrict movements from five counties in an operation codenamed ‘Operation White Shield’ announced on Thursday less than 24hours after President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf declared a state of emergency. The army seems to have been deployed before the President announced the state of emergency that gives the government power to operate outside the constitution and go to lengths that could trample on civil liberties.
Many people on each divide of the thin line that was hanging at the checkpoint looked weary and many had not had access to food or taken a bath, according to what FrontPageAfrica gathered on Friday from eyewitnesses.
“I came from my home Cape Mount, I came to buy, but on my way back, the army people stopped us, they say nobody going,” said Ma Amie a business woman in her late 40s.
A young breastfeeding mother identified as Esther, sat with her baby crying uncontrollably. She said she has changed him with all the available diapers she had and she needed water to wash them but there was no water. The young mother told FrontPageAfrica that she lives in Cape Mount but went to Monrovia to visit family, but on her way back home the army stopped her from crossing the checkpoint. She slept in the car with her baby and other passengers.
“I just see the people say you’ll don’t go. No way to change him because the diaper everything was wet,” she said. But Defense Minister J. Brownie Samukai at a news conference in Monrovia on Thursday justified the action of the military terming it as a proper step.
“Bomi under the public health law has been identified by the ministry of health, as an infected location that we need to contain and we took steps to do that and people are inconvenienced; I can’t understand that inconvenience,” said Samukai.
“They say you need 21 days to make sure you are not spreading that disease anywhere. If you don’t believe me, I’ll take you there and let you go in front and come back. It is serious and we are deadly serious as well.”