Liberia Alarms Over Border Attacks

The Government of Liberia has expressed concern about news reports of recent attacks in border towns and villages along the border between Liberia and La Cote D’Ivoire.

The Liberia News Agency, quoting a statement issued Sunday by Information Minister Lewis G. Brown, said “Consistent with the policies of good neighborliness and a commitment to regional peace and security, the relevant Liberian security agencies are seriously investigating the reports as well as engaging their Ivorian counterparts.”

The Liberian government says it is “fully committed to working with and supporting the Ivorian authorities and international partners in strengthening border security, regional peace and stability, as well as raiding the two countries of the mutually destabilizing activities of non-state actors.”

Reuters Reports: Unidentified gunmen crossed over from Liberia and launched a pre-dawn attack on an army base in western Ivory Coast on Saturday, killing at least two soldiers, a local member of parliament said.

The assault on the town of Grabo, near the top cocoa grower’s western border, was the third deadly raid in the area in less than a year. Ivory Coast’s government has blamed previous attacks on supporters of ex-president Laurent Gbagbo based in Liberia.
Grabo’s parliament representative Yaya Coulibaly said gunfire erupted around 3 am (10 p.m. ET) and an exchange of fire between the assailants and Ivorian soldiers lasted over an hour.

“They attacked the military base. As always, they came from Liberia,” he said. “Two (soldiers) were killed, that’s confirmed, and possibly one of the attackers as well. But this is only a provisional death toll.”

The army repelled the attack and was carrying out clean-up operations in the area later on Saturday, he said. Defense ministry and army officials were not immediately available for comment.

Ivory Coast is recovering from a decade-long political crisis that ended in a brief 2011 civil war sparked by Gbagbo’s refusal to admit defeat in a presidential run-off election in late 2010.

Under President Alassane Ouattara, the country – French-speaking West Africa’s largest economy – is emerging as a new darling of frontier investors drawn by its rapid economic growth and largely untapped potential.

Gbagbo is currently awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague for alleged crimes against humanity committed during the conflict, in which around 3,000 people died. Some 220,000 Ivorians fled into Liberia during the post-election conflict and tens of thousands – among them former pro-Gbagbo militia fighters – remain there.

A U.N. panel of experts charged with monitoring Ivory Coast’s arms embargo, imposed in 2004, has written that despite a general improvement in security in the country, Liberia-based fighters remained a threat.

A small group of men was arrested recently near Tabou, another town along the border with Liberia. Ivorian officials said they were caught with a small arsenal of weapons and were planning a series of attacks before they were denounced by local villagers. Source: LINA and Reuters

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Author: D K Sengbeh

Danicius Kaihenneh Sengbeh (author of Sengbeh's Weblog) is a respected and renowned Liberian journalist, poet and writer with with journalism experience since 2001, of working both as a mainstream journalist and a communication/media consultant in Liberia. He is Secretary General of the Press Union of Liberia (elected Dec 2013). He was Assistant Secretary General of the Union Dec 2011 to Dec 2013. He is also Editor-In-Chief of The Informer Newspaper—one of Liberia’s credible dailies. Before joining the Informer, Danicius had served as reporter, chief reporter, sub-editor and News Editor at The Independent Newspaper between 2002 and 2006. Before then, he was reporter at the defunct Patriot Newspaper and Kiss FM 2001-2002. Danicius is a UN Media Fellow and Liberia’s first UN Medal Award-winning journalist for his contribution to journalism and for being the second Liberian journalist in 15 years to qualify for and successfully attended the United Nations’ Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalist Fellowship Program in New York and Geneva, Switzerland in 2012. He earned a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Mass Communication and Sociology from the University of Liberia and a Diploma in Journalism from the International School of Journalism. He holds several awards and recognitions both in and outside of journalism, and carries dozens of certificates in journalism and communication from studies in Ghana, China, United States and Switzerland, among others. He volunteers as Chair of the Information and Communication Committee of his local Bardnersville community. He can be quickly reached via (+231) 886586531/777586531/777464018/ dakasen1978@yahoo.com

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