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 "Monkey Still Working Baboon Wait Small" implies she needs a second term to complete her agenda, and currently appears on pos
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
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid