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Gov’t defers clarification on Bomi shooting

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The Government of Liberia has refused to speak on the prevailing situation in Western Liberia’s Bomi County, precisely Sass Town, where residents are reported to have heard gunfire from unknown men.

The Government, through the Ministry of Information on Capitol Hill, called a press briefing to be addressed by Defense Minister Brownie Samuka on the situation concerning the recent shooting, but the briefing was later deferred to as unspecified date – something raised more eyebrows on the incident.

But the government said it had launched an investigation into the matter – something that has resulted to speculations in the public. speaking to this paper in an interview last weekend at a local hotel in Monrovia during a one-day post Ebola Recovery Strategy Workshop, the Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, Col. Leemu Reeves, again deferred the clarification of the incident to an unknown date, saying there was no need for residents of Bomi county and citizens by extension to panic, because there was an ongoing investigation to bring the Sass Town shooting to book.

The workshop – conducted under the auspices of the Institute for Research and Democratic Development or IREDD, brought together Civil Society members, national stakeholders and government officials from various line ministries and agencies with the purpose of knowing how far they were with the Post Ebola Strategy Plan launched in recent times.

He urged citizens in and out of the country to remain calm, and must not exaggerate the recent shooting incident to another thing, saying “we need to do away with too much exaggeration of things that we don’t prove; these things must not be spoken, because such have the propensity of undermining the hard earned peace that every citizen enjoys today” “we understand how serious this situation is, but I can tell right now the people of Bomi are going about doing their normal business; it’s only in Montserrado that there’s this much fears as it relate to the recent incident, and I bet you, no one can point to the fact that they have seen the individuals who did the shooting – this is something toward which the government is working. We need to exercise patience and sooner the government will give out information,” he added.

According to Col. Reeves, the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization is charged with the primary responsibility to implement and enforce the Alien and Nationality Law of Liberia. Besides the Alien and Nationality Law, it is also governed by the Constitution of Liberia, the ECOWAS Protocols on Free Movements of persons, goods and services within the sub-region, as well as international conventions and laws, among other instruments.

The BIN Boss also noted that the Bureau has the statutory mandate to safeguard and protect the borders and boundaries (air, land and sea) of Liberia against the illegal entry of aliens into the country.  The Bureau also screens and examines travel documents; admits aliens at sea, air and land borders (ports of entry); grants aliens resident status and provides border management and control.

Meanwhile, Col. Reeves has indicated that though there were some challenges in the process of executing its statutory responsibilities, there were also lots of progress made with respect to the protection of the borders by BIN officers, saying “we don’t have all what it takes to protect every border point, but the safety of citizens requires collective efforts through community engagements.”

He said Liberia was not the only country with poor borders, noting that the entire west African borders were poorer. “We should not restrict this alone to our country; we need to join efforts; as citizens, you come and we will correct them by taking away some of the bad apples,” He expressed the need for citizens to work together because ‘Rome’ was not build in one day.

By; Lewis S. Teh-Edited by George Barpeen

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