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Defense Ministry Relaxes Camp Ramrod Eviction
Date Uploaded: Apr 28, 2017

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Defense Ministry Relaxes Camp Ramrod Eviction

By Wilfred Gortor

MONROVIA, April 27 (LINA) - The Ministry of Defense has with immediate effect put on hold its notice of eviction to inhabitants of the 72nd Camp Ramrod Barracks in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.

The Ministry said the decision to put on hold the May 1 eviction of residents of the barracks came as a result of the intervention of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), President Ellen Johnson who recently requested the ministry to relax the planned eviction exercise.

Deputy Defense Minister Joseph S. Johnson,told the Plenary of the House of Representatives Thursday that the MOD has not arrived at a set date on which it will carry out the eviction, noting that this mandate will only be implemented following consultations by President Sirleaf with the National Security Council.

It can be recalled that the Defense Ministry in a bid to provide adequate housing facility for officers of the AFL, recently threatened to deploy a contingent of soldiers at the Camp Ramrod Barracks to effect an earlier eviction notice issued to ex-soldiers and illegal occupants of the facility.

Defense Minister Browne Samukai, ahead of the deployment, told reporters in Monrovia that the deadline given to evict illegal occupants remained on course as the Ministry would no longer allow its soldiers to remain homeless, while the barracks is being illegally occupied by squatters.

Amidst the rumpus which was exacerbated by calls by some political actors for the MOD to abort its action to clear the barracks, Representative Thomas Fallah of District#5 (where the barrack is situated), engaged the Plenary of the House of Representatives to invite the Defense Minister so that the matter can be looked into.

Among other key points raised in his communication to House Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay, Fallah complained that the barracks is coded '30289" under the National Elections Commission voter registration exercise, and that a total of 3,642 residents registered there during the voting registration exercise.

In Fallah's opinion, an eviction of the barracks will result to a mass displacement of prospective voters in the October elections, something which, according to him, is a violation of Article 8 of  the Liberian Constitution, which calls for the protection of the interest of citizens.

Although Minister Samukai was unable to appear before the House Plenary as a result of conflicting schedule, Johnson who represented him maintained that the MOD considers it an obligation to provide housing for its soldiers.

According to Minister Johnson, the lack of adequate housing, among other constraints being experienced by personnel of the AFL, has over the years contributed to the rate of attrition of the nation's military.

LINA WSG/TSS/PTK

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