25 February 2014

Liberia: No Liberian in Renewed Fighting - Defense Minister Clarifies

Photo: Liberia Government
Ivorian President Alhassan Ouattara arrives in Liberia for a summit of the Mano River Union leaders (file photo).

Defense Minister J. Brownie Samukai has clarified that Ivorian authorities are yet to disclose the involvement of any Liberian in the ongoing fresh fighting in Cote D'Ivoire.

The minister told the BBC Monday, 24 February that the crisis in La Cote Cote D'Ivoire was internal and requires an internal solution. His comments yesterday appeared to be disputing claims of the involvement of Liberians in the ongoing border fighting, which has the propensity of destabilizing that country again.

There are unconfirmed reports that supporters of dethroned president Laurent Gbargbo militarily engaged troops loyal to President Alassane Outara. Heavy fighting erupted Sunday morning in the border town of Globe Town inside Cote D'Ivoire, near Liberia.

Multiple sources said heavy bomb blast and firing could be heard inside Cote D'Ivoire on Sunday morning, not too far from the Nyaaken Town with Little Wleebo in Liberia.

Joint security operatives, including the Police, Immigration and United Nations Mission in Liberia or UNMIL have been reported to have immediately dispatched to the Liberian side of the border since Sunday to embark on a patrol exercise.

The county superintendent in River Gee, Daniel Johnson had confirmed on Sunday that there was firing on the Ivorian side of the border with Liberia, suggesting that already, fresh Ivoirian refugees have begun crossing over to Liberia as a result of the fighting, which, he said, was affecting both sides due to the closeness.

Sources said news of the fighting reached the Liberia Sunday morning when travelers and traders commuting between the two countries via River Gee began calling family members here on the situation.

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