Civil Servant Sets Himself Ablaze To Protest Unpaid Salary

A civil servant in Liberia, Archie Ponpon, has set himself ablaze over the nonpayment of his accumulated salary and arrears.

Ponpon, who works at the judiciary branch of the government – Temple of Justice which houses the Supreme Court in Monrovia, set himself on fire to protest the delay of his pay.

Co-workers told AFP that Ponpon had always threatened to set himself ablaze if the Temple of Justice failed to pay his salary and benefits owed him.

“Since last October, we have not received a salary from the office. We are talking about one year,” one of Ponpon’s colleagues said.

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The colleague added that protests began in September over government refusal to pay salary, noting that Ponpon was part of a group of about 30 employees who staged a sit-in, all of whom were subsequently suspended.

According to him, Ponpon set himself ablaze after receiving a court order to have him arrested for rioting and obstructing judicial function after he was suspended.

Minutes after receiving and reading the writ of arrest, he pulled out a one milometer water bottle filled with gasoline and challenged court officials from coming close to him before setting himself ablaze.

However, Ponpon was rushed to the John F. Kennedy (JFK) referral Hospital, in a motorbike, where he was being treated for fire burns.

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