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

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend 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.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More