LIBERIA: THE ARMY TO PROTECT PEACE IF…
Days after two persons reported dead in the recent clash between the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and former ruling Unity Party (UP) in Foya, Lofa County, Liberia’s Justice Minister and Attorney General, Cllr. Frank Musa Dean, has said any attempt to disrupt the peace in Liberia will face the full force of the law.
Speaking at the Joint Security Press Conference on Monday, October 2, 2023 in Monrovia, Minister Dean said Liberia as a country, which is termed as democratic state, has no place for violence and its citizens are to be peaceful and denounce evil and wicked acts perpetrated by criminal minded individuals.
“Violence has no place in our democracy, and election must represent a peaceful process by which citizens choose their leaders,” Justice Minister Dean stated.
Minister Dean pointed out that the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), which is part of the Joint Security, is in full readiness and available to guarantee a peaceful election if the need arises.
According to him, when the police and other law enforcement officers are overwhelmed or cannot control the situation, then the military will be called to quiet any situation of unrest.
The Attorney General said what occurred in Lofa recently (Friday, September 29, 2023) is currently being investigated by the Joint Security Special Investigation Team on Election Violence, stressing that 24 persons have been picked up after being seen in the video.
He stated that if those are found culpable shall face the full weight of the law.
“People must be made to understand that when they break the law, they will be held accountable,” asserted the Minister of Justice.
The Attorney General of Liberia emphasized that the law enforcers are willing to work in ensuring the public full security and peace. He warned that “no one has a right to disrupt the peace. Anyone or group thinking otherwise must reconsider. We caution members of the public not to test the resolve of the Joint Security. Any attempt by anyone to disrupt the peace will be met with the full force of the law.”
He furthered that “the Joint Security shall be robust and prepared to do any and everything legally permissible to protect the peace. Reasonable and proportionate force shall be used where required. Those who elect to test the resolve of the Joint Security will be doing so at their own peril.”
As it relates to deployment of security officers, the Justice Minister said officers are deployed throughout the fifteen (15) counties as Liberia is days to elections, which is scheduled on Tuesday, October 10, 2023 in addition to those who were assigned already.
In other to have a peaceful election, the Joint Security shall guarantee the security and safety of members of the National Elections Commission(NREC), election workers, voters, precincts, election materials and the general public.
Minister Dean mentioned that to cultivate violence during the election, they conducted a community policing but incendiary, inciting and violent rhetoric being delivered on line- Media as it relates to deliberate misinformation, disinformation, fake news, hate message, extreme militancy both in dress code and deportment by some of the young people in political parties, continue to pose a deeply concerning challenge.
Additionally, those who incite violence are as guilty as those who commit the actual acts of violence.
He cautioned individuals who have issues or grievances to address their matter to the court and not to take the law in their hands. “Law enforcement officers are prepared and willing to work with members of the public in preserving the peace.”
At the same time, the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS)has been ordered to heighten security to ensure that Liberia’s territorial borders and boundaries remain safe and secured.
Meanwhile, all of the land borders are to be close from 6:00AM to 6:00PM in other to avoid interference from other country that Liberia is sharing borders with.