CommentaryGeneralLiberia newsON 2ND THOUGHT

On 2nd Thoughts: The arms cache

By Othello B. Garblah

Reports of a huge cache of arms and ammunition at the main seaport in Monrovia and subsequent discoveries at a private residence in Brewervile outside Monrovia last week have sent chills down many.

Not just because of the sophistication of the kinds of military weapons involved, but also chill memories from decades of civil war in which more than 250 thousand Liberians lost their lives with estimated billions of United States Dollars’ worth of properties destroyed including businesses and banks.

 As if that was not enough, just when the country began to pick up its pieces on the path to economic recovery, it was hit by the deadly EBOLA virus reversing nearly every post-war gain made during Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s second term.

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Liberia was yet to recover when the global pandemic struck. COVID-19 though had a global impact but like many poor and underdeveloped countries, Liberia suffered and is still struggling with the aftermath of the virus-its economic impacts.

Despite these challenges, the country remained focused on its infant democratic path with general and presidential elections scheduled for later this year.

It is against this backdrop that one would question the rationale behind the smuggling of sophisticated military weapons mainly assault rifles into a country that has gone through a lot.

Boy Benjamin Baker

Security forces have already identified one Boy Benjamin Baker as the shipper based in the United States and arrested some individuals linked with the shipment, including a broker.

At this stage, there have been no further reports or names of individuals closely connected to or financing these shipments, which security sources say have been sneaking out of the port for over a year now. This is supported by Inspector General Patrick Sudue’s comment that there appear to be some missing rifles because some ammunition seized cannot match rifles currently in their possession.

This has led to heads scratching and fingers pointing depending on which conspiracy theory one is listening to. But the bottom line is if citizens were already harboring fears ahead of the pending elections, those fears have been heightened.

Weapons brought in crates

Hence the need for thorough investigation with credible institutions such as the Liberia Bar Association, Independent Human Rights Commission and international partners among others serving as observers through these investigations, remain key to the integrity of the outcome and subsequent prosecution of individuals involved.

Another critical area to look at as security forces investigate the arms cache is the illegal smuggling ongoing at the country’s main port since the process of Reshipment Destination Inspection (PDI) was canceled replacing same with Destination Inspection.

Recently, USD100 Million worth of cocaine was discovered in TRH Trading Company container at a rented warehouse off the Japanese Highway in Tonpoe Village. The container was allowed to leave the port for days before the subsequent discovery of the contrite-banned substance was made.

Reports that these crates loaded with sophisticated assault rifles have been sneaking out of the port under the noise of destination inspectors speak volumes of the entire process and the company handling such operation.

The latest report of arms smuggling at the port only demonstrates how criminals are taking advantage of the destination inspection process which at this stage seems too weak, exposing the country to so many dangerous shipments being let out.

Though the motive behind the arms and ammunition shipment remained unknown, it doesn’t take a magician to guess the intent, especially at a time the country is headed to its fourth democratic election, where the stakes are hard.

We don’t know who is behind the supply of these weapons. This is where the professionalism of the joint security forces headed by the Liberia National Police comes into being.

And that is why it is important that the relevant groups mentioned above be invited to witness the ongoing investigation for transparency to uphold the integrity of whatever findings that maybe.


The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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