President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf says a rise in what appears to be ritualistic killings and armed robbery across Liberia is threatening national security, as she points hands at “some elements” that are beginning to test government’s resolve in the wake of UN Peacekeepers’ draw-down.
“We are witnessing a rise in what appears to be ritualistic killings and armed robbery across the country – thus threatening our security,” President Sirleaf said in a nationwide address Thursday, 19 November at the C. Cecil Dennis Auditorium of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia.
But she says government is mindful of 2017 and how crucial it is in the country’s democratic transition, as she particularly underscored different acts of lawlessness and criminality being executed by some elements in the country.
Mrs. Sirleaf assured the public that government is fully aware of what is taking place and is currently taking steps to contain these wanton acts of violence. “I am instructing the security forces to rigorously enforce the law to the letter and bring this ugly situation under immediate control,” she declared yesterday, with further warning to those who have chosen the path to commit murder and armed robberies that government is coming after them.
President Sirleaf however pleaded with Liberians to refrain from violent protests and destruction of properties in the expression of rights to land, community benefits, and other things, saying “This will not be tolerated.”
She says Liberia is now faced with the prospects of a weakened economy due to the worsening global decline in the prices of two of its most important commodities – iron ore and rubber.
In the mining and agriculture sectors, Mrs. Sirleaf says Liberia is beginning to see layoffs, reduced income and taxes, scaling back in current activities, bankruptcy, and delayed investment outlays in various projects.
“It is against this backdrop, fellow Liberians, that I felt it important to address you on these critical developments. It is not that the situation cannot be contained. We can and must do so. It is just that we have a lot to do together to ensure that we remain afloat and don’t lose the momentum we have built coming out of the Ebola crisis,” she cautioned yesterday.
She says given Liberia’s natural endowment, the private sector here will continue to be the engine of sustainable growth, adding that government has started negotiations with investors who require changes in investment plans given current global conditions.
She has notwithstanding said government is concluding arrangements with other investors to keep the economy more diversified.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Jonathan Browne