News / Africa

Liberia Prepares for Voting Amid Security Concerns, Refugee Crisis

Multimedia

Audio

Liberia's electoral commission is working to safeguard voting along the border with Ivory Coast, where hundreds of mercenaries from the recent Ivorian political crisis are under arrest and thousands of Ivorian refugees are stretching Liberian social services.

Liberia has two big votes in the next few months, a constitutional referendum and a presidential election.  With campaigning for both contests well under way, Liberia's electoral commission is working to ensure that voting in areas near the Ivorian border will not be disrupted by instability stemming from the Ivorian political crisis.

"Firstly, when we look at the Ivorian refugees, our primary concern will be one of security concern in terms of mercenaries coming over with the hopes of threatening the process," said James Fromayan who chairs Liberia's electoral commission.

Several hundred mercenaries who fought for former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo are now in Liberian internment camps where they are visited by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).  Norra Kero is the ICRC's communication delegate for Liberia.

"We registered them, and we have given them some assistance in terms of food and blankets, and now in the internment camp we are still visiting them and sharing our findings with the authorities," said Kero.

Liberian federal prosecutor Allisious Allison says Ivorians who entered Liberia with weapons were offered the chance to return home, but when they said they would rather go to the Liberian border county of Grand Geddeh, the government decided to keep them locked up, at least until after the election.

"They do not want to go back to Ivory Coast, but instead they want to go to Grand Geddeh," said Allison.  "So you can see the situation.  Our security information that we are getting from around here, it is not healthy for those people to go that route."

The Liberia director for the peace-building group International Alert, Jackson Speare, says the presence of more than 150,000 Ivorian refugees has already changed the electoral dynamic in Liberian border communities.

"You have a lot of people joining an already-fluid situation," Speare noted.  "People can begin to disrupt different campaigning and other things.  People can begin to threaten people.  Crime rates can begin to increase, which will influence the movement of people in the region.  You have that quantity of persons coming in, you know what is going to happen in terms of the cost of living.  So it will influence everything.  It could also influence the elections."

Eddie Jarwolo heads Liberia's National Youth Movement for Transparent Elections.  He says Liberian security forces are overwhelmed by the Ivorian refugees.

"Our immigration system is poor," said Jarwolo.  "Our security network is very poor.  Some of the guys who cross could be combatants from Ivory Coast who come in and we don't have the time to scrutinize the guys.  In terms of election violence, they could easily be mobilized to get involved in the process.  This is a challenge for us."

Voter registration closed before most of the refugees arrived.  So electoral commission chairman Fromayan says he is less concerned about illegal voters than he is with maintaining security around polling stations and safeguarding the results.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid