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Enforcing Curfew: protection and safety are paramount

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Since the imposition of a night time curfew on Wednesday, August 20, 2014 by the Government of Liberia as an additional measure to combat the deadly Ebola virus in the country, armed robbery continue to increase at an alarming rate.

The curfew, preceded by the a State of Emergency on August 6, begins from 9pm and ends 6 am across the country, and hardened criminals are now capitalizing on the absence of security patrols to burst into business centers and terrorize homes. Interestingly, what’s more fearful, as well as discouraging is the that these crimes are taking place in communities in which top brass of the Liberia National Police or LNP live.

In the Paynesville municipality where Director Chris Massaquoi and all of his Deputies reside, especially Duport Road, Zubah Town, Weaver Street/Paynesville Town Hall Community, as well as LBC Community, GSA Road, among others, armed robbery is at its highest peak despite the curfew.

Moreover, during the curfew hours the pseudo-security operations under which these crimes are committed are so confusing and fearful that no one understands what’s really going on.  Residents of the communities mentioned continue to publicly complain of armed robberies by men wearing “AFL and police uniforms” on a daily basis.

While we do agree with the Liberian Government that the curfew is an additional measure against  the spread of the Ebola virus, as it relates to restricting the movements of people at night, there is no doubt among the population that the curfew would, to a greater extent, also help in minimizing the spread of the disease. It is in view of the foregoing that in straight compliance, Liberians are already adjusting themselves and ensuring the highest degree of observation and respect for the curfew by staying in-doors.

But one thing which remains very paramount is their security while observing and respecting the curfew. This is where the attention of the Liberian Government must be drawn, especially in the wake of the reported pseudo-security operations by unscrupulous individuals wearing military and ERU uniforms to terrorize peaceful citizens/community dwellers, especially in isolated areas of Monrovia and its environs.

What’s more worrisome is the inability of the appropriate security apparatus to respond to these unfortunate situations. Even if they would, their timely arrival most often delay during armed robbery occurrences. Judging from the recent past, interventions by the Emergency Response Unit or ERU and Police Patrol Unit or PSU in armed robbery incidents have been very difficult, especially when telephone calls are made to the police.

As a matter of seeking redress to the foregoing, this is an issue over which the Liberian Government must now ponder as a way of addressing so that as Liberians live and sleep in peace as the indefinite curfew is enforced. Even though the issue of logistics to facilitate security patrols may be understood, the issue of the well-being and safety of Liberians must also be paramount, and that all efforts must be exerted to ensure security patrols in crimes-pruned communities as already mentioned.

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