The United Nations Mission In Liberia (UNMIL) has observed that although the initial benchmarks of the transition plan were met, progress in recent months has been slow relative to putting in place the requisite mechanism for its draw-down plan.
UNMIL Officer–in-Charge Antonio Vigilante in a statement issued yesterday said greater national commitment is urgently required to make sure that the critical targets are achieved in the coming months, including the passage of the Police Act and other important legislation.
He said while the government holds primary responsibility for the security of the Liberian people, as citizens, all Liberians have an important role to play in maintaining law and order and resolving problems through peaceful means.
He noted that now is the time to support sustained progress in the achievement of the Government’s security transition plan and in future years, all Liberians should be able to look back with pride at how they took full responsibility for their own peace and security, a similar pride that has come from uniting to overcome Ebola.
The UNMIKL Officer-in-Charge said the Mission’s military strength will be reduced to approximately 3,400 by September 2015 while the number of police personnel will be almost 1,400.
He also said the Security Council is expected to authorize the next phase of UNMIL’s drawdown (October 2015-June 2016) of military and police personnel in the coming weeks noting that UNMIL’s drawdown is not new.
Mr. Vigilante said the number of military personnel has been reduced by well over 11,000 over the past decade, without major security incidents in the areas from where UNMIL had withdrawn.
The UNMIL official said as the UNMIL drawdown advances, the Mission continues to support the implementation of the Government’s detailed plan to assume full responsibility for all aspects of security in the country by 30 June 2016.
Taking into account the statement from the UNMIL Officer-in-Charge it is about time that Liberians as people with the primary responsibility for the security of the country take the relevant initiatives to support the building of genuine security.
The National Legislature being a party to this development should also act in a prudent way as the UNMIL draw-down continues by putting into place the necessary legislation such as the Police Act and related laws that will ensure that security is guaranteed when UNMIL should have departed these shores.
More over our security apparatus must take serious the various training they have been undergoing in a true sense of nationalism so as to achieve sustained progress in the realization of maintaining law and order without fear or favour to anyone when UNMIL shall have left Liberia.
Liberians, the country’s security agencies and politicians must show commitment to preserving the peace through proper maintenance of the rule of Law or else we might be caught with our pants down when the UNMIL leaves.