The Inspector General of the Liberia National Police says her officers will not relent until all criminals in the country are arrested and sent to jail. There has been an unprecedented rise in crime, especially armed robberies in Liberia recently. For example, officials said there were 47 cases of armed robberies throughout the country in the month of April alone.
Inspector General Beatrice Munah Sieh told VOA the police have launched “Operation Thunder Storm” to combat the rising wave of crime in Liberia.
“The police have taken a very serious step, and they have taken all those robbers down and we have practically arrested all those involved. And for the past couple of days now, we have been quiet. We are not hearing about two to three days now,” she said.
Sieh agreed that 47 cases of armed robberies throughout Liberia in the month of April alone is a very high number. But she said “Operation Thunder Storm” is making a difference.
“Operation Thunder Storm is to crush all these criminals and their criminal activities. It happens that some of these people are arrested and sent to court, and you know the laws in Liberia are not as strong as they should. So the judges find way to convict these criminals. But when they go to Central Prison, they are free in three or four months and then they come back and do the same thing. So we go there and have them arrested,” Sieh said.
She said the criminals are interested in almost anything, including cell phones and money. But inspector general Sieh said the robbers have added another disturbing crime to their arsenal.
“Of course they take the cell phones, and they take anything that they see. The ask for money, jewelry, anything that they can get. But what is really concerning me is that there have been a lot of rapists. They rape young ladies, and that is the one that we are trying to put stop to completely,” she said.
Sieh said Liberia’s high unemployment level has nothing to do with the country’s high crime rate.
“This has nothing to do with unemployment. Simply some people just want to be bad. Some people are used to fighting or feeding themselves through arms, throughout the war and they think they can continue doing that. But Liberia has become a civilized country like any other country which has experienced war. And we can no longer us the excuses of war to live solely on using arms to rob people. Unemployment do not make you to rape a woman,” Sieh said.
Not all Liberian police are allowed to carry weapons because of an arms embargo following the war. In spite of the country’s high crime rate, Inspector Sieh said the restrictions should remain in force.
“I do not think that all the police should carry weapons. We’re just coming out of war, and I want a gradual process. But if we had more than what we have right now it would have been better,” Sieh said.
She said Liberian police need logistics such as more vehicles, fuel to fight the criminals.