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

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network 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.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs