Ellen Smells Security Threats

Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted February 1, 2006


President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf says they have received credible reports of potential threats against the newly inaugurated government.

Disclosing this recently to journalists at the Parlours of the Executive Mansion in her maiden press conference since inauguration, President Sirleaf said there are all kinds of potential destabilizing actions which she could not give further details because according to her “It was a security matter.”

As a result of this, she gave justification for leaving Justice Minister Kabineh Ja’neh as acting Head of State on two different occasions she traveled out of the country, saying, “We have serious security concern in the country- we know we have problems with the AFL [members] who feel that there are certain things which they are entitled to or promised.”

According to her, while the dialogue is going on with the AFL to resolve the issue, it is imperative to leave in charge the Justice Minister who is part of the Joint Security as she did because in her words the “ new Defense Minister and National Security Agency Director are awaiting confirmation hearings.”

Persistent threats by members of the defunct Armed Forces of Liberia are being high in recent times thus creating eerie feelings among the war-traumatized Liberians. One Tally who claimed to be the head of demobilized 1990 AFL soldiers said few days ago that if Defense authority or government cannot pay their insurance premiums and back pay they would disrupt the ongoing recruitment exercises.

He threatened that people should not take them for granted because according to him, “The absence of guns in the streets does not mean Liberians are tired with war,” adding, “people should think about April 6, 1996; when we are ready, even the UNMIL troops cannot withstand us because we will move with force.”

Meanwhile, President Sileaf has defended her government’s decision to have an ad hoc Supreme Court, saying that it was done in line with the recommendation from the former Chief Justice Henry Reed Cooper.
She used the occasion to sound a warning to the outgoing ministers of being responsible for those government’s properties in their care. According to her, they are going to institute a process to audit all records to make sure of the properties that were bought of government resources because people have begun looting them already.

President Sirleaf who promised to settle government’s payroll at the end of this month, said her government is now getting information on the arrears and amounts owed to different segments, citing the University of Liberia, AFL widows and the demobilized soldiers.

She said, “Once we have full information on the outstanding amount, we will then come and have a schedule of payments and try to meet it.”

© 2006: This article is copyrighted by the Forum newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved. Forum can reached at: Forum@theperspective.org