Weeks ago, a local daily in Monrovia reported the establishment of training bases, as well as the recruitment of Ivorian dissidents, Some Liberian mercenaries in Liberia’s Grand Gedeh County. The repeated publication of the news was characterized by condemnations and denials by the Government of Liberia and a number of senior officials and citizens from Grand Gedeh County. Just last week, a U.S-based rights group, Human Rights Watch reported the recruitment and training of child soldiers in Liberia’s Grand Gedeh County to fight in neighboring Ivory Coast. The group pointed accusing fingers at former loyalists of ousted Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo as the masterminds of the recruitment.
That Human Rights Watch Report was again denied by the Government of Liberia, through Information Minister Lewis Brown with the assurance that Liberia would “never” encourage such dissident venture against its neighbor.
Despite these persistent denials and assurances by the Liberian Government, the United Nations in Ivory Coast has again confirmed an attack on its troops from Liberia’s Southeast, killing seven from Niger and wounding several citizens in Western Ivory Coast. While the United Nations Mission in the Ivory Coast has already announced that it was dispatching its troops, alongside Ivorian Government soldiers to the region, probably in pursuit of the insurgents, the Liberian Government is yet to confirm or deny the presence of Ivorian Rebels on its soil.
But at news conference on Saturday at the Ministry of Information in Monrovia, the government, through the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense and Information, announced the closure of its borders with neighboring Ivory Coast. According to the government, the decision was intended to afford it the opportunity to conduct thorough intelligence and security exercises in the area. This action taken by the government may be in the right direction, but very belated. When the news was first reported by a local Liberian newspaper weeks ago, the government should have been very proactive in instituting the current action other issuing condemnations and denials.
While Liberia may just be facing another embarrassment before the international community considering the gravity of the incursion and its confirmation by the UN in the Ivory Coast, it is still not difficult for the government , through its security network, to act swiftly and sincerely against the situation in the Southeast.
Even though its border with the Ivory Coast in Grand Gedeh is a lengthy and porous rain forest, the government must employ all of its best using the necessary resources and man power not only to identify the bases of the insurgents, but to destroy such and even arrest those involved along with their supporters and collaborators in Liberia.
Sincerely, if and only these Ivorian dissidents/rebels are based in Grand Gedeh, it may not be to the knowledge of the Liberian Government-an administration whose primary focus is to promote good neighborliness and cross-border trade within the Mano River Union basin. All that Liberians wish for currently is for the government to exercise the highest degree of vigilance and promptness in curbing the unfortunate situation to prove its innocence and uprightness in promoting peace in the sub region.
While the government is given this admonition, it must always employ proactive measures against reports about the planning of subversive activities on its soil be and avoid actions that would be embarrassing.