The NewDawn has reliably learnt that soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia or AFL have been deployed at the border with neighboring Ivory Coast in southeast Liberia, following the recent arrest of three Liberian former rebel generals of the defunct Movement for Democracy in Liberia or MODEL in River Gee County.
An unimpeachable source in River Gee hinted of the alleged AFL deployment Monday night after County Superintendent Phillip Jah, confirmed on Sunday, 17 May that on “suspicion of mercenarism,” the former MODEL Inspector Powell Solo, c.k.a. “General Power”; ex-Model General Dennis Slayah, c.k.a. “Charles Ble Goude”; and ex-MODEL Field Commander Augustine Vleyee, c.k.a. “Bush Dog” were being held in Fish Town, River Gee County.
But in a follow-up with the Ministry of National Defense in Monrovia, Assistant Minster for Public Affairs David Dahn, denied any deployment of troops at the border.
According to him, the soldiers began a week-long patrol on Saturday, 16 May at Liberia’s major border points with neighboring Ivory Coast, exactly within the time the three arrested ex-rebel generals were being held over “suspicion of mercenarsm.”
Minister Dahn, who spoke with this paper via mobile phone Tuesday afternoon, said uniformed soldiers of the Armed Forces Liberia are patrolling borders in several counties, including River Gee, Maryland, Lofa, Grand Cape Mount and Bong, respectively since Sunday as part of routine security vigilance in the wake of UNMIL’s drawdown here.
“As of Sunday, we had patrol at key border points in Lofa, Grand Cape Mount, Bong, Maryland and River Gee. We didn’t deploy soldiers; the patrol is still ongoing for one week,” Dahn said.
He said the AFL was not part of Joint Security operations that reportedly led to the arrest of the alleged ex-rebel generals, but they had been part of an earlier joint security operation dubbed, “Operations Restore Hope”.
Mr. Dahn was emphatic that the Army “has not deployed” soldiers at the border points as a result of the latest security situation emerging from River Gee, adding that the ongoing patrol at these key border points with Ivory Coast continues up to Saturday, May23rd.
On condition of anonymity, senior police officers in Monrovia confirmed the arrest of three former rebel generals, who claimed they were running a “covert” operation on behalf of the National Security Agency or NSA at Liberia’s border with Ivory Coast in the southeast to “discourage ex-combatants from taking part in Ivory Coast’s civil war.”
River Gee Superintendent Jah said the suspects were arrested based on suspicion of mercenarism, having failed to show documents to authenticate claims that they were working for State security.
In an inquiry with the ex-rebel generals, Superintendent Jah said some of the names they mentioned as those they had dissuaded are known by county authorities as ex-fighters.
The ex-rebel generals claiming to be running a covert operation allegedly entered Swroken Town, Weabo District in River Gee County, near the border with Ivory Coast, alleging to have packages for ex-fighters, who they were discouraging from going to Ivory Coast.
A source in the county said the suspects were arrested in Swroken after residents alerted Weabo District Superintendent Harry Quiah, and turned over to the Joint Security in Fish Town for questioning on 16 May. By Winston W. Parley – Edited by Jonathan Browne