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False alarm undercuts peace

What seems an unusual habit especially during this political season is gradually creeping in the Liberian society where people alarm falsely about threats or attacks on their lives, creating unnecessary panic, widespread suspicions and rumors. Of late, several individuals, including high profile personalities had alarmed about alleged attacks on their lives or homes, while others feel threatened, beginning with talk show hosts Smith Toby and Henry Costa as well as Associate Justice Sie-A- Nyene Yuoh and political leader, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine of the Liberty Party, respectively.

Journalist Smith reported an alleged arson attack last month on his residence along the Robertsfield highway, outside Monrovia which received wide condemnations. Police are yet to make any arrest from the incident or provide clues that could lead to suspects.

Talk show host Henry alarmed twice about alleged attacks against his life, one in central Monrovia, and the second a reported arson on his vehicle, but police investigated and dismissed the latter as baseless.

In a statement, the Supreme Court of Liberia condemns, in the strongest terms, reported attack on the home of Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh, disclosing that on the evening of Sunday, November 5, 2017, at about 9:00 p.m, some unknown persons began throwing large stones into the compound of the Associate Justice, intending to cause harm to persons living within the compound as well as cause damage to properties. But the high court subsequently clarified that the situation was as the result of commotion among some staffers of the compound, not attack from outside.

The latest came from Liberty Party Standard Bearer Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine , who uncategorically alarmed last week that he has come closer to death since he filed his complaint of alleged electoral fraud and irregularities before the National Elections Commission (NEC) in challenge to the outcome of the 10 October 2017 presidential and representatives’ elections.

“I’m 66 years old now, I was here during the 1979 rice riot, 1980 coup d’etat, the 1985 coup, the 1989 and the rest of [the] wars, I have never come closer to death as in recent weeks since I filed the electoral fraud complaint,” Cllr. Brumskine expressed during a hearing before the NEC’s Board of Commissioners on Thursday, 23 November.

Real or perceived, these alarms further keep our society on the edge of uncertainty, characterized by rumors and apprehensions, undercutting the relative peace we continue to enjoy as a nation. People have rights to bring to public attention any suspicious actions or activities that tend to threaten their personal safety, but such alarm should be supported by facts.

Raising false alarms or unnecessary fears is counterproductive to national security and stability. Additionally, it sends a negative signal outside about the country, driving potential investors and other partners away.

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As a people, we should guide against behaving like characters of a story that used to be read in primary school when they would alarm that the earth was falling down with each one spreading the news to the other, but no one took up time to authenticate the information, leaving everyone running helter-skelter. In these critical moments of our country’s history when we are engulfed by legal challenges and political uncertainty, the worst thing to add to the already fragile atmosphere is false alarms and fears, because they come with unexpected consequences.

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