It is no doubt that the rate of armed robbery in Liberia presently is as high and uncontrollable as alarming. When many had thought the imposition of the current 9 pm to 6am curfew would have served as a deterrent to perpetrators of the crime, it was the opposite. The vulnerability of a number of communities in Monrovia and its environs due to the absence of police patrols continues to stimulate the commission of armed robberies.
Just during the early morning hours of Saturday, August 31, 2014, more than 15 armed robbers reportedly wearing Police Patrol Unit or PSU uniforms stormed a number of communities, including the Rehab/Lower Johnsville Community, Weaver Street-Paynesville Town Hall Community, Voker Mission Community, as well as Kiss Camp Community on the GSA Road, among others in Paynesville, terrorized peace residents and made away with cash and several valuable items.
Frustratingly, neighbors of the victims of these armed perpetrators find it difficult and scaring to intervene not only due to the fact these robbers are ‘armed to their teeth’, but fear of the curfew. It is also possible that these reported uniformed armed men could capitalize on the 9pm to 6am curfew to also harm them. According to residents of the affected communities, the armed robbers are usually well attired in ‘PSU uniforms’ – blue shirts, trousers, face caps, as well as black boots, among others. Interestingly, they do not carry long range 9AK-47 rifles), but side arms and single barrel guns.
More troubling and fearful is that many at times, these armed men, at times along their uniformed ‘AFL’ counterparts, approach some private homes in these communities and demand that residents go indoor (even if they were on their porches enclosed by iron bars) under the guise of enforcing the curfew between the time of the commencement of the curfew to its end at 6 am.
While it is understood their the security apparatus, especially the police may be over-stretched due to their current operations in the Township of West Point et al, leaving other communities outside of the township vulnerable at the “mercy” of heartless criminals, is also completely dangerous. In view of the foregoing, revisiting its current strategies to ensure the safety of residents of communities infested with armed robberies must now be of paramount concern to the Liberia National Police.
While revisiting its strategies, it is also important that the issue of who’s wearing these PSU uniforms and how did they acquitted them be addressed. In the investigation, the issue of the production of uniforms similar to those of the Liberian National Police for private security must also be thoroughly addressed and the findings made public. The vulnerable communities must also be encourage by the police to establish watch teams as a way of assisting the police since is it over-stretched and under-capacitated. The inability of the police to address these issues may further increase the apprehension and suspicion already harbored against the PSU and ERU by the public as it relates to the armed robbery incidents occurring almost daily during the early curfew hours.