Liberia’s Security Is Stable, But Fragile…Says UNMIL

By Janjay F. Campbell

The Special Representative of the Secretary General of United Nations to Liberia, Karin Landgren says the security situation in Liberia remains stable but fragile.

Madam Landgren who is also Coordinator of United Nations Operations in Liberia expressed concern on Wednesday at the Mission’s weekly briefing that mob violence continues to be of grave issue with 21 incidents being reported since March this year. She also pointed out that reports of armed robbery continue with over a third of reported incidents involving firearms.

According to her, the rate of sexual base violence remains worryingly high with an increase of 25% of reported cases over the same period in 2012 and that these violent acts should not be neglected by the society.

The SRSG who spoke on other topics said the Government of Liberia continues its effort to enhance the overall effectiveness of the Liberia National Police, with support from UNMIL. She observed that the police continue to have insufficient capacity and resources for the effective exercise of state authority outside Monrovia, due in large part to a lack of professional management which is hindered further by politicization.

Madam Landgren said in preparation for the conclusion of the national police five years strategic plan, the police and UNMIL are conducting a nationwide capacity assessment of the plan’s implementation to enable them inform a new strategic development framework.

The Mission boss explained that UNMIL continues to draw down its troops and reconfigure its military deployment; however their mandate in Liberia has also been extended to 2015 to buttress government’s effort in providing security for its people.

According to her, of all the 11 facilities vacated by UNMIL in the first phase of drawdown, 7 have been taken over by the Government of Liberia. She said the Government of Liberia faces significant challenges in assuming its new security responsibilities; as well as in making effective use of the newly acquired facilities.

She stated that obtaining the resources to equip these facilities and deploying additional security personnel were difficult, despite budget allocation for transition related activities in the 2012/2013 national budget.

She said that a retreat to analyze the funding gap for the transition which the Government of Liberia has planned for March this year is yet to take place and that the Government of Liberia has also undertaken an initiative to promote synergy between transition requirements and other security sector development programming.