With just four days remaining for Ministry of National Defense authorities to evict occupants of 72nd military barracks, squatters of the barracks have vowed not to leave the barracks until proper arrangements are made by the Government of Liberia including resettlement fees.
Addressing his fellow squatters yesterday at the barracks, the spokesperson of the group, Peter Poque, said while it is true that no arrangement was made between Defense Ministry authorities and the squatters, many of them are ex-service personnel of the Armed Forces of Liberia. Mr. Poque who claimed to be a former Captain of the defunct AFL, said it was during the administration of the seven-man Transitional Council Government that the AFL was ordered to move to the various military barracks and leave the streets to give way to disarmament. He said it was upon this mandate many of them decided to move to 72nd barracks and prepare for the disarmament. The former AFL Captain said their presence at the barracks also secured the housing facilities at the barracks, and if the Ministry of National Defense is now prepared to carry out renovation, compensation should be given to the men rather than forcibly evicting throw. Poque averred that many of them have their children attending nearby schools, registered in the political district for the upcoming elections, and doing businesses in the area to sustain their lives and also contribute to the economy. He noted that it was very inimical on the part of the Defense Minister to use military order to evict them without even a sign of appreciation after years of maintaining the facilities in the interest of the country. Defense Minister Brownie Samukai when contacted via mobile phone said the eviction order on May 1 stands and nothing will change the order. He said while it is true he was invited to Capitol building to give reasons for eviction order placed on squatters, it does not suggest that the Defense Ministry will change the mandate. Samukai said effective Sunday the 30th of April he expects every squatter to vacate the barracks and give way to the Ministry to begin renovation works.