-Ex-soldier alarms Rtd. Captain Jerry Kollie
The spokesman of the disbanded Armed Forces of Liberia, Captain Jerry Kollie, has alarmed here that Liberia is on a time bomb and could explode anytime, rallying citizens to be on the alert to avoid repeat of the chaos that devastated the entire country for close to two decades.
The alarm comes amidst panic among the population here following Sunday’s (March 14, 2016) terrorist attack in neighboring Ivory Coast, which led to the death of at least 18 persons, including four French nationals.
“We understand that this administration will be handing power over to the next political party or candidates that will win the upcoming 2017 general and presidential elections. Because of this, we noticed that officials of government – former, and even those that are still in power are continuing to be missing and nothing is done about their disappearance in this country, and this is something that seems worrisome to some of us”, said the retired Captain.
He wondered why would a government that claims to be the best in the history of Liberia not institute measures that will safeguard its citizens in the wake of UNMIL’s drawdown. Speaking with reporters Thursday, March 17, at his office in Monrovia, Captain Kollie said the recent deaths of several Liberians under suspicious circumstances including the ex-managing director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company Harry Greaves, have brought panic to the citizenry, saying “There is no country in the world that will allow its citizens to disappear or found dead on beaches without its leaders finding out the proper causes of their death or by bringing the suspected perpetrators to justice, but here in Liberia it’s common; people just die on beaches, in prison with no one knowing who is responsible for their deaths.”
Since the inception of this administration in 2005, ex-soldiers and the government have been hauling and pulling over the former’s demand for severance pay, something the authorities have complied with time and again.
But it seems the severance demand with threat to disrupt the peace has been scare tactics employed by the former soldiers to hold the government in ransom each time they were broke and needed money. But President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has vehemently refused to yield any further, having made earlier payments.
Captain Kollie claimed the Unity Party-led government has failed the Liberian people in every aspect of its deliverables, noting “What makes you think citizens are no longer interested in casting ballot? The reason is simple, because previous administrations had failed, and now even this Unity Party administration has also failed on its promises. This is something that creates chaos; you have a country where half of its population is around the youth; now, how many job opportunities have they provided since their ascendency to the Liberian presidency”, he asked. Job has remained a serious challenge for this administration even as it is left with less than 24 months to leave office.
Meanwhile, commenting on the recent attack in neighboring Ivory Coast, he said it’s about time every Liberian becomes security of his or her own as the country’s security sector leaves much to be desire.
“Who knows the reasons why these things are happening; it is about time that we all become security on our own, because the security sector in this country is so poor. With the strength of security Ivory Coast has, terrorists entered in that country; if they were to come to Liberia, we will all die”, he added.
The retired Captain condemned the attack on neighboring Ivory Coast, while calling on security apparatus along the various border points between the two countries to remain vigilant in preventing future attacks on both sides, especially Liberia, which is gearing up for elections next year.
By Lewis S. Teh-Edited by Jonathan Browne