*Ahead of 2023 elections
By Ethel A Tweh
The Senate committee on defense, security, intelligence, and veterans’ affairs has recommended a need for government to consider the security sector in the budget year leading to the presidential and legislative elections in 2023, to enable recruitment and training to boost the strength of entities in the security sector.
The committee has presented to Plenary an investigative report, containing findings and recommendations on alleged kidnapping and ritualistic killings in Liberia.
The report says during the investigation, Justice Minister Musa Dean said that the lack of budgetary support for national security institutions greatly affects their operational capacities.
According to the committee findings, Minister Dean cited the lack of manpower as one key challenge facing the sector.
The Attorney General recalled that under the UNMIL drawdown plan, the targeted manpower of the Liberia National Police was put at 8,000, but the current strength of the Police is less than 4,000, the committee noted.
The investigation was ordered by a communication from Grand Bassa County Senator, Nyonblee K. Lawrence, raising concern about alleged kidnapping and ritualistic killings in Montserrado County and other parts of the country.
This followed the discovery of a series of murdered-related dead bodies across Montserrado County between June and October this year that received public outcry.
In this light, plenary mandated the committee to investigate and report findings for legislative actions.
Making the motion to increase the budget for security, Montserrado County Senator, Saah H. Joseph said, the report should be published by the Senate Public Relations Department for consumption of international partners and that monies should also be placed in the national budget for the operations of the security sector. Editing by Jonathan Browne