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Liberia’s peace not secure

Pro temp JallahAhead of UNMIL’s departure from Liberia, the President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate says the country’s peace is insecure, pointing to going drawdown of UN troops, unemployment and low standard of life among the population.

Senator Armah Jallah spoke over the weekend in Ganta City, Nimba County during celebration of the one-year anniversary of Garr Kwa Doo social group (we’re one).

The Gbarpolu County Senator said all well-meaning Liberians should worry about peace in the midst of massive jobless.

“ Our peace is not yet secure because many of our people are unemployed; low cost of living, the security sector of the country needs serious work and we as government should now start to control things politically and economically before we [can] go back to where we came from”, the Pro-Tempore said.

He pointed out that it is terrifying to realize that many family heads can no longer feed their homes.

He stressed that both the government and its people should work closely in ensuring the protection and safety of the State as a cardinal duty, especially after the departure of UN troops.

“Some of the issues that need to be addressed are as follows: Is the Liberian Army at optimal strength or does it require additional soldiers in order for it to become viable army? Are the Army, Police, and Immigration sufficiently equipped to be able to carry out their respective mandates? Are they capable of defending this country, its citizens, and residents? What is the State of the morale of the officers and members of the army, police, and immigration? Are they enjoying minimum benefits, such as accommodation for them and their families? Our concern is keeping the peace and retaining the stability that we have enjoyed as a country over the years,” he said.

Senator Jallah emphasized that peace and stability are critical for the transformation of post-war Liberia, and challenged educated Liberians to ensure that no situation should undermine the peace gains made over the years.

He cautioned Liberians not to engage in any form of conflict after UNMIL departs, noting that development cannot take place in the absence of a peaceful environment.

Pro-Tempore Jallah admonished the people of Nimba County to settle all differences, especially land crisis in the court or to use cultural and tradition means than resorting to violence.

Many Liberians seem to be faced by anxiety as the country prepares for general and presidential election in 2017 amidst the departure of the United Nations.

The Special Representative for the Secretary General (SRSG) to Liberia, Ms. Karin Landgren, told a press briefing recently in Monrovia that the decision to resume the troop’s drawdown reflects the progress Liberia has made in the past 12 years of peace.

SRSG Landgren said the security plan for UNMIL’s transition is linked to the drawdown, and that the security transition plan focuses on Liberia taking over tasks still being performed by the Mission as well as addresses needs and capacity gaps across the security sector.
Among the tasks that are to be handed over to the Liberian authorities by 30 June 2016 include destruction of explosive remnants of war, which will be transferred to the Armed Forces of Liberia as well as security at the two largest prisons, which will be the responsibility of the Liberia National Police and BCR, and guard duty at several locations.

Ms Landgren also said UNMIL will continue to work closely with the Liberia National Police, the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, the Armed Forces of Liberia, and the Ministry of Justice to strengthen capacity throughout the transition period.

“I commend Liberia for meeting the Security Transition Plan’s initial benchmarks, including by ratifying the Arms Trade Treaty on 21 April and taking over responsibility for marking and registering arms”, she said and added, “UNMIL will continue to work closely with the Liberia National Police, the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, the Armed Forces of Liberia, and the Ministry of Justice to strengthen capacity throughout the transition period.”

However, she stressed that the success of the Security Transition Plan depends on many things, including effective police presence in all 15 counties and having the trust and cooperation of the people they serve.

“Earlier this week”, SRSG Landgren narrated, “I spoke to the security agencies and superintendents in Rivercess and Grand Bassa. I was told that the LNP in Rivercess are supposed to number 162, but they are 26. They don’t have a single functioning vehicle. They were frank with me, and they are also frustrated.” By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor - Edited by Jonathan Browne

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