Police authorities here say over 5000 joint security personnel are being deployed across Liberia ahead of Tuesday, 10 October presidential and representatives’ elections.
Police Spokesman Sam Collins says armed officers will be deployed at the National Elections Commission (NEC’s) 20 magisterial warehouses across the country to guard electoral materials.
Speaking to this paper on Tuesday, 3 October he discloses that included in the security deployment are officers from the Liberia National Police (LNP), Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency (LDEA), Liberia National Fire Service (LNFS), Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) and other state security agencies.
He says the over 5,000 officers will be deployed at all 2,080 precincts and 5,390 polling places across the country to give some level of security to electorate on Tuesday, 10 October.
“We’ll also have armed men deployed at the 20 magisterial warehouses across the country owned by the National Elections Commission,” Collins says, adding that these 20 warehouses contain elections materials being guarded by the police.
He announced Tuesday evening, 3 October that officers would have begun departing at 3 am today, Wednesday, 4 October for their various assigned areas.
He admonishes that there is no need for anybody to harbor fear, assuring Liberians that the election security is in tight.
At areas that are considered hard - to - reach, he says materials and men will be air - lifted by UNMIL. The police have urged all parties to adhere to the rule of law and do away with electoral violence.
Surrounding concerns of police officers’ salary payment and per diem for the election operation, Mr. Collins says salary issues have been settled, and per diems will be paid by the UNDP and not the police authorities.
He says officers’ account numbers have already been sent to UNDP, and their per diems would be wired into their accounts as they get deployed.
The clarity by Collins over police officers’ salaries and per diem for elections deployment comes in response to a NewDawn inquiry over concerns from some quarters in the police alleging that there were some level of tension building up at the LNP Headquarters due to alleged delayed salary and unsettled per diem issues before the deployment.
Some anonymous sources had confided in this paper that both pay and per diems for police officers had not yet been settled when were due to be deployed, with authorities allegedly poised to forcefully deploy officers in the midst of alleged dissent.
But Mr. Collins clarifies that as at Tuesday evening, 3 October the issue of officers’ salaries had been settled, adding that they have been told that per diems would be paid by UNDP and not police authorities.
Liberians go to the polls on October 10, to elect a new President and members of the House of Representative in what is to produce the first peaceful political transition in 73 years.
By Winston W. Parley-Editing by Jonathan Browne