Liberia: A Helter, Skelter Security Nightmare

Liberian police (file photo).

THE SECURITY situation in Liberia is in a rapidly deteriorating state as armed robberies hit an all-time high and residents in most communities are growing increasingly wary following a caution from the Liberia National Police last week that "some unscrupulous individuals" are going around claiming to be Anti- Robbery Agents of the LNP.

ACCORDING TO THE LNP, the illegal agents are becoming fond of going from community to community harassing, searching homes and intimidating peaceful residents thereby taking their personal belongings.

THE CAUTION STATES: The LNP wants to inform the public that members of the Anti-Robbery Unit of the LNP are properly identified with Identification Cards, and specific Vests with the inscription, "Anti-Robbery/LNP". The LNP urges the public to request the identification of anyone performing Police duty or claiming to be member(s) of the Anti- Robbery Unit of LNP and report anyone or group of persons refusing to be properly identified in connection to the LNP.

THE CONFUSION over the state of security in the country comes amid a recent raid on the Tropicana Beach and Resort off the Robertsfield Highway when more than 15-armed security officers stormed the premises of Tropicana Beach and Resort to effectuate a writ issued for the discovery and seizure of 'drugs, arms and ammunitions, and the payment of checks to individuals' planning to stage a 'Weah Step Down' protest in the country.

TROPICANA BEACH AND RESORT, owned by Semir Kaidii, a Lebanese National is located at Thinker's Village, outside Monrovia.

SOURCES HINTED FrontPage Africa on Friday that a number of items including CCTV camera, computer, camp bags, and several dozens of 'employees t-shirts', were taken away by the armed security officers. The latest mandate from authorities of the Ministry of Justice comes just few days after the Chairman and Secretary General of the Council of Patriots (COP) visited the Tropicana Beach and Resort to amuse themselves with family members and friends on December 29 and January 1 respectively.

COP HAD PREVIOUSLY vowed to stage a protest dubbed 'Weah Step Down' protest on December 30. But the group changed gear by postponing and extending the date of the protest from December 30 to January 6, despite numerous efforts and proposals from both International Diplomats of the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United States, among others.

THE COP also relinquished its previous decision to call for a 'Weah Step Down' protest, but vowed to commence a 'peaceful assembly' beginning January 6, until President Weah addressed recommendations contained in its petition presented to government on June 7.

THAT THE LNP is cautioning Liberians against imposters pretending to be police officers in the midst of a controversial search and seizure speaks volumes and breeds distrust amongst Liberians toward those tasked with providing security for communities across the country.

WHAT MANY LIBERIANS have not been forced to rely on, is a scenario where a headless chicken is running around in fear, tinkering on the brinks of the unknown as it wallows into unknown.

SINCE THE END of the civil war, millions of dollars have been spent on training of national, non-state and private security institutions on Security Sector Reform with the goal of upholding the peace and stability of the country following the departure of UNMIL.

IT SEEMS the country has failed to utilize the opportunities at its disposal - or learn from trainings and preparations for life after UNMIL.

SEARCH AND SEIZURES such as what was done to the management of Tropicana Beach only serve one purpose and that is to scare potential investors away.

TOO MANY Liberians have lost their lives in a senseless war and now the memories of the pain and suffering appear to be resurrecting ills of old in a nation, yet to learn from its painful past.

INSTEAD, Africa's oldest republic appear to have resigned itself to running in circles, helter, skelter for shelter and unable to guarantee a safe environment for its people to live without having to look over their heads.

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