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Security forces end crowd control demonstration

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Assures Liberians of safe election

By Lincoln G. Peters

The Liberia National Police (LNP) and the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) with complementary support from the Liberia Disaster Management Agency, National Fire Service, and Liberia Red Cross Society on Wednesday, 3 November 2021 ended a one-day joint command post and practical demonstration on crowed control and dispersal in Monrovia.

The command post and practical demonstration of crowd control and dispersal exercise are intended to ensure mutual understanding of the role of all agencies during the response to the crisis situation in Liberia.

The practical demonstration of crowd control and dispersal phase was led by the Liberia National Police, hosted by the Armed Forces of Liberia, and jointly complimented by the Liberia National Fire Service, Liberia Red Cross, and Disaster Management Agency to ensure that during the election and other violent situations there is proper cooperation to calm violence.

The aim of the exercise is to promote inter-agency cooperation and interoperability among participating agencies in dealing with crisis situation during internal security operations in Liberia.

During the physical demonstration of crowd control and dispersal synopsis, participants watched election violence in the country of Siberia where a party won an election, but its rival party rejected the result and cried fraud.

The synopsis continued where the opposition party of Siberia political leaders and supporters engaged in a major protest and demonstration, something which prompted the joint security to come in and restore calm.

At the physical demonstration and practical crowd control dispersal exercise activities, the LNP was assisted by the AFL when the crowd was overwhelming.

Also, they were followed by the Red Cross, Fire Service, and Disaster Management Agency who provided support for the protesters to save lives and properties.

The joint security at the scene changed strategically and responded depending on the escalation of force by the protesters. At first, was empty hands negotiation by the joint security, later blockades, non-lethal and lethal weapons followed to disperse the angry crowd.

Speaking to journalists at the end of the exercise, Acting Defense Minister Mr. Tibli Olandrus Dickson said that the activities demonstrate how the Government of Liberia through its security agencies are ready and prepared in dealing with election violence and mob violence ahead of the 2023 presidential and general elections.

“In a time of peace, you should be prepared for war. We are not doing all this because we sense violence ahead of the election, but we want to also put ourselves on the safe side because we are going towards and major election,” said Minister Dickson.

Liberia’s Army Chief of Staff Major General Prince C. Johnson, III, said the examples displayed were fruitful based upon the four separate intelligence unite that they have set up and trained to provide and handle information during an election period.

General Johnson continued that they have the Operation Watch Over Vi, the Joint Technical Operation Center (JTOC) Watch Over Vi, and Sector “B” Operation with the media sector that will provide the right information to the public during the election period when examples are displayed and anticipated happened.

“The AFL will help but it will be the last to come in when the police can’t make it. However, with the training and lesson though, I’m confident to say that I trust the police in handling these issues across the country,” General Johnson added.

Also speaking, Cllr. Ernestine Morgan Awar, Commissioner at the National Elections Commission (NEC) with oversight on security, said she is very excited to form part of such a great initiative, adding that this is the first of its kind in the history of the NEC and the country at large.

“The NEC’s service has to do with the sovereignty of the country and it borders on peace and national security. We are doing everything to have a very free, fair, and peaceful election,” said Cllr. Awar.

“We have NEC commissioners that have integrity. We are part of this so that in challenging time we can know how to get to the joint security to restore peace and stability,” Cllr. Awar noted.

For his part, the National Security Advisor to the President Mr. Jefferson Kanmoh disclosed that the exercise has shown in terms of the internal security operation, which one of the security forces should take the lead and how it will be done, adding that there should be more support to the team for the work.

“We want to reassure the Liberian people that come 2023 the country’s joint security are well prepared and trained to handle election violence, mob violence, and every form of violence across the country,” said Mr. Kanmoh.

In separate remarks, the Liberia National Fire Service, Disaster Management Agency, and the Liberia Red Cross said they are ready to complement the efforts of the joint security in handling issues of violence across the country.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/afl-conducts-training-for-2023-elections/—Edited by Winston W. Parley

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