We, as well as many other Liberians continue to harbor fear about the military situation at the Ivorian-Liberia borders, most especially in the southeast of the country. Our fear is against the back-drop of recent report that armed Ivorian soldiers were crossing over to Liberia after being dislodged from a border town near Tabu in Cote d’Ivoire.
The report suggested that Liberian immigration officers arrested some of these armed men at the crossing point in Maryland County. Owing to the fact that our borders are very porous and that some are unmanned, we strongly believe that most of the armed Ivorian and Liberian mercenaries were already in Liberia.
While we applaud the government for the deployment of the Emergency Response unit or ERU of the Liberia Police, as well as the presence of a number of unarmed immigration personnel at our borders with Cote d’Ivoire, we still believe that the numerical strength of these men is very insufficient.
We are even bothered by the lack of information about the deployment of the Armed Forces of Liberia, even though Minister of Defense, on state radio, said that a few of them involved in emergency humanitarian operations with refugees at the border in Nimba County. With the current and persistent information about the unfavorable security situation at our borders in southeastern Liberia, the presence of the Armed Forces of Liberia or AFL would be more preferable.
Other than keeping the more than two-thousand ’trained’ soldiers at the Kesselly Military or elsewhere, this is the most appropriate time to test their ability to perform. And such performance must be at our borders where Ivorian soldiers and Liberian mercenaries continue to infiltrate with their arms and ammunition. We and the Minister of National Defense are all aware that the AFL was established to provide protection for Liberia in the event wherein the nation’s security is threatened.
And so, with our country’s security now threatened by the current activities of Ivorian soldiers and rebels, as well as Liberian mercenaries, it was now time for Minister Brownie Samukai to move quickly with the deployment of the AFL for patrol of our borders in the southeast before it’s too late. Samukai and others must understand that we do not need to go to the moon to be knowledgeable about the danger posed by the arms and ammunition brought into our country by these retreating Ivorian soldiers and Liberian mercenaries.
While it is true that we cannot easily predict the intentions of these men, we and many other Liberians who do not have the economic potentials to leave our country at will must also understand why these men would choose to cross over to Liberia with the arms and ammunition. We do believe that this is time for our soldiers to get out of relaxation and comfort to combine forces with the police and immigration to stop the threats being posed by the Ivorian civil crisis.
This issue is being discussed by the New Dawn because of the many concerns being raised as to the whereabouts of the Armed forces of Liberia in the wake of the threats at the Liberian borders. And we think Defense minister Brownie Samukai owes the people of Liberia an explanation as the man who controls the military (even though there’s still a Nigerian Chief of Staff of the AFL).