Liberia’s Justice Minister Cllr. Frederick Cherue says there is absolutely no need for Liberians to panic as the country assumes full security responsibility, contending that government is capable of managing the security of the state.
Minister Cherue also assures that the UN has already established a regional quick reaction force based in neighboring Ivory Coast to respond to threat in the host country and Liberia. Speaking in Monrovia Friday, 1st July at ceremony marking the official takeover of security from UNMIL, the Attorney General says under the UNMIL transition plan, the country’s security forces include the police, immigration, DEA, military and the fire service have been trained and deployed in all 15 counties to help keep the peace; while County and District Security Councils have been established with citizens and local officials brought onboard.
According to him, the exercise is intended to encourage citizens’ participation and enhance coordination and harmonization of all security related issues. Cllr. Cherue reminded the public that state security forces successfully brought the Arcelor Mittal disturbances in Nimba County under control, among other violent acts, and also provided security throughout the 2014 Senatorial election.
He said UNMIL’s transition does not mean that the Peacekeeping Mission is fully leaving Liberia, adding that the Mission’s presence will be consolidated at four regional headquarters across the country with some military personnel also remaining here until the end of the 2017 presidential and general elections.
Cllr. Cherue has meanwhile commended the UN for its immeasurable support here, citing both logistical and financial in helping to restore and keep the peace. For his part, Mr. Farid Zarif, Special Representative of UN Secretary General (SRSG) said July 1, 2016 was indeed a historic day – the day Liberia re-assumed full security responsibilities.
He said on 30 June, the UN Secretary General paid tributes to the government and people of Liberia for the historic milestone. The SRSG said Liberia security institutions took on more responsibilities as the UN peace mission drew down from its peak of more than 16,000 uniformed personnel to over 1,200 military and over 600 police personnel that are remaining here as of the time of the handing over of responsibility. He said UNMIL was not leaving with the completion of the security transition …, noting that in September, a high power [delegation] from the UN will carry out assessment on the situation in Liberia which will provide recommendation to the Security Council by November following which the Council will make determination.
By Winston W. Parley