11 January 2013

Liberia: Be Your Own Security

As UNMIL continues gradual withdrawal from some parts of the country, expected to end in 2015, authorities of the UN mission have alerted Liberians of the need to take responsibility of their own security, but in a peaceful manner.

Speaking at the UNMIL press briefing here Wednesday, the spokesperson of the mission, Mr. Aleem Siddique

said,"We have seen nearly ten years of unbroken peace in Liberia. It's time for Liberia to take the credit for peace, but also it's the responsibility of local communities across Liberia" tob e security minded.

"Every Liberian is a security officer and you have a responsibility to maintain calm and peace and resolve your problems in a peaceful manner so that we can build on the ten years of peace."

Citing as indicator that peace is gradually returning to Liberia, he said, "government security forces are now in the lead for security."

Already, UNMIL has completely withdrawn from Foya, Lofa County where reports say residents who had been used to the green berets express anxiety about their security.

But Mr. Siddique allayed their jittery saying UNMIL personnel are in Voinjama taking charge of security throughout the county.

He said the withdrawal of UNMIL personnel from Foya District is good news for Liberia and all Liberians because it demonstrates that peace has arrived in Liberia and that Liberians can be in charge of their own security.

"Development will come if this peace is maintained. So the government has a responsibility, which they are taking seriously. We're encouraged by their willingness to take on that responsibility, but every Liberian man and woman must take (also) on that responsibility as we move forward," the UNMIL spokesperson stressed.

He explained that the major priority of the drawdown plans is for UNMIL to work along with and strengthen Liberian institutions that provide security and stability to the country to make sure they are increasingly able to assume their responsibilities because security is not provided by the mission alone."

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