News / Africa

Security Along Liberia-Ivory Coast Border Tightened Ahead of Vote

An election poster for Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is seen in the heart of the Liberian capital Monrovia. Her slogan
An election poster for Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is seen in the heart of the Liberian capital Monrovia. Her slogan "Monkey Still Working Baboon Wait Small" implies she needs a second term to complete her agenda, and currently appears on pos

United Nations peacekeepers in Liberia and Ivory Coast are boosting security on both sides of the border ahead of Liberian presidential elections. 

Liberia's Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday on the applicability of a residency requirement that could disqualify up to six presidential candidates, including the incumbent, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and her top rival, Winston Tubman.

The threat of that political upheaval just two weeks before election day adds to security concerns in a young Liberian democracy with instability along its western border.

Ellen Margrethe Loj is the U.N. special representative for Liberia. She wants to boost her peacekeeping force with troops from the U.N. mission in Ivory Coast, which is known as ONUCI. “We have been discussing with our sister mission in ONUCI whether they could strengthen the mission here in Liberia during the election period just like we strengthened our sister mission in Ivory Coast last year during the elections in Cote d'Ivoire,” she said.

A dispute over the Ivorian elections led to a political crisis that killed at least 3,000 people and drove more than 170,000 Ivorian refugees into Liberia, where many are still living in camps and villages along the border.

ONUCI troops and Ivory Coast's new army are stepping up patrols on their side of the border after the government in Abidjan blamed a series of attacks this month on “Liberian mercenaries.”

The Economic Community of West African States says it is concerned about banditry along the border and the flow of small arms and light weapons through areas populated by refugees and displaced civilians.

In Liberia, Loj says officials understand the security challenges along the border, and U.N. troops will do their part to ensure a violence-free vote.  But Loj says a peaceful election depends primarily on Liberians themselves.

“You have had eight years of unbroken peace in Liberia.  Now it is up to all of you to show that you are steadily on the road toward sustaining that peace and developing your country.  You do not want to go back to violence,” Loj stated.

Liberian security services are deploying a specially-trained joint operations force for the vote that includes police, the fire service, immigration officials, criminal investigators and the drug enforcement agency.  National police spokesman George Bardue says the force will monitor Liberia's borders during the vote and take steps to prevent post-election violence.

“We have been training on how to control riots, how to control crowds.  We do not expect any violence, but when it happens we will respond and we will behave professionally,” he noted.

Bardue says a peaceful vote begins not with security services but with how political parties instruct their supporters.  So the joint force is working with politicians to prevent violence.

“We put in place what we call a code of conduct between the national police and the political parties that is a preventative measure.  Political parties believe that it is important for us to keep this election peaceful,” Bardue stated.

Despite a brief court-ordered halt to campaigning, Liberia's presidential vote is still scheduled for October 11th with a second-round run off in November if no candidate wins more than half the ballots.


You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs