The Analyst (Monrovia)

17 August 2012

Liberia: Grand Gedeans Worry Over Kinsmen?s Safety

Citizens of the southeastern province of Grand Gedeh based in the United States of America have issued yet another alert and poster of worry as fighting between rebellious and government forces in neighboring Ivory Coast draws very close to Liberia.

Several sources have reported that Ivorian state security forces are pursuing dissident forces that attacked an army barrack in Abidjan and the fighting is drawing close if not inside Liberia’s borders. The obvious victims are border towns lining the areas where the fighting is taking place; and this prominently focus several towns of Grand Gedeh County.

“Over the last 24 hours, our attention has been drawn to skirmishes at the Liberian-Ivory Coast border, near Behai Jozon within the area stretched from Toe Town,” said a release signed by an executive of the Diaspora-based Grand Gedean citizen’s association, Gibson Jerue.

The release recalled that relatives, families and residents were awakened about 6:00am Monday, August 13, 2012 to a volume of gun fire coming from the Ivorian side of the border. Scores of civilians are trooping toward Toe Town for fear of their lives. Our people are being displaced again!

“Our information is that some Ivorian dissidents are responsible for the latest attacks on Ivorian security forces. This information is yet to be verified. As of now we have not heard of any casualties, but the fighting itself is unfortunate and sends a wave of panic in our people living near the border areas,” the release noted, adding that at time when Liberians are nurturing peace and tranquility, the fighting in la Cote d’Ivoire calls for measures to safeguard Liberian citizens residing in the troubled area.

The USA-based Grand Gedeans expressed the worry that this is the third attack in less than three weeks.

“Ivorian dissidents recently attacked in Yopougon, a major district in the Ivorian commercial capital of Abidjan. In less than one week, Ivorian armed dissidents attacked Ivory Coast largest Gendamerie’s barrack in Arkoudo, making away with cache of arms and ammunition before the Ivorian security forces retook the barrack,” the association further recalls. “Before those attacks, some armed dissidents attacked UN forces at the Ivory Coast-Liberia border killing seven UN peacekeepers and two Ivorian security personnel. That attacked has led to the arrest and detention of several Grand Gedeans accused of complicity in the fatal attack.”

According to the Association, four Grand Gedeans, including Neezee Barway (sometimes called Joseph Dweh), Morris K. Cole (sometimes called Edward K. Cole), Isaac Taryon and Bobby Sarpee have been in detention for nearly three weeks without charges, in gross violation of their fundamental rights and the Constitution of Liberia.

“The Constitution provides a suspect arrested and detained for any crime must be charged within 48 hours. In the instant case, the four Grand Gedeans have not been charged since been in detention for nearly three weeks,” the group said, calling on the Government of Liberia to ensure the protection of the citizens residing along the Ivorian border, as the situation in the Ivory could have a spill-over effect. We believe that those attacking Ivorian security are Ivoirians themselves.

“We are aware that Ivoirians always find scapegoat for their problem, as it has been most times with Ivorian citizens attacking West African citizens when there was trouble in the Ivory Coast,” the release concluded.

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