Liberian Government Imposes Curfew In Monrovia
Posted December 11, 2003
The National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL), has announced the imposition of a curfew beginning Tuesday, December 9th, 2003. The government’s action comes in the wake of acts of vandalism by former GOL combatants as protest to demand incentives and other benefits before surrendering their weapons in the ongoing DDRR program.
Announcing the government’s decision late Tuesday evening in a nationwide address, NTGL Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant said the government has learnt with grave concern that some ex-combatants have begun sporadic shooting and harassing civilians some of whom he said are government officials.
Chairman Bryant said the government viewed these acts by the ex-combatants as unfortunate and unnecessary, stressing that such acts will not be condoned by the government.
The NTGL Chairman added that the government is closely monitoring combatants involved in such behavior, emphasizing that efforts were being made to identify the homes of those involved. Chairman Bryant said the action of the combatants was in contravention of the comprehensive peace accord signed by all the belligerent parties.
He said in keeping with the accord, one can face a war crime tribunal for being involved in such acts.
Chairman Bryant emphatically stated that any ex-combatant who is involved with such or intends to obstruct the implementation of the accord runs the risk of being brought before such tribunal for prosecution.
He added that henceforth, the government was imposing a curfew to begin at 10:00p.m. on Tuesday, December 9th, 2003 at 6:30p.m., while it will begin today December 10th, 2003 as of 8:00p.m. to 6:30p.m.
Chairman Bryant said the imposition of the curfew as of 10:00p.m. to 6:30p.m. on Tuesday is intended to get the citizens off the street so that they can be able to get to their respective homes.
Chairman Bryant said the curfew will remain in place until otherwise order.
He called on all citizens and foreign residents alike to rest assured as UNMIL is prepared and will provide security for all.
Meanwhile, the need for the Gyude Bryant-led transitional government to revisit the schedule of the just-imposed curfew in the capital, has been stressed.
Speaking on Tuesday when he appeared as guest on Radio Veritas live phone-in talk-show, "Topical Issues", the Managing Editor of The INQUIRER Newspaper, Mr. Philip N. Wesseh said though he has no problem with the imposition of the curfew, the schedule would create problem for the ordinary people including students, petite traders and marketers, considering the lack of a public transport system.
He said because of this, it might be difficult for people to get to their various destinations before the curfew hours, and therefore, said there is a need for government to revisit the curfew hours to avoid citizens facing difficulties.
On Tuesday, NTGL Chairman Bryant imposed a curfew from 8p.m. to 6:30 a.m. for what he called, "security measure aimed at keeping the city stable."
Speaking further, Mr. Wesseh suggested that the period of the curfew be reduced to begin at 10:p.m. to 6a.m.
The INQUIRER’s boss used the occasion to commend US Ambassador Blaney for his statement to Liberians regarding the disarmament process, describing same as "positive and encouraging."
He underscored the need for the NTGL, UNMIL, leaders of warring faction and Liberians in general to get involved in the DDRR by encouraging ex-combatants to surrender their arms for the common good of the country. He said from what the said Monday, the ex-fighters are willing to disarm.
He however, attributed the recent wave of sporadic shooting in and around the city by former fighters, to the lack of proper education, coordination and awareness on the part of UNMIL and the transitional government.
He also called on UNMIL to use local expertise in the disarmament process, if a comprehensive disarmament is to be realized in Liberia.
Meanwhile, Mr. Wesseh has stressed the need for the transitional government, UNMIL and leaders of warring factions to hold constant discussions aimed at looking at the problems and prospects of the DDRR program.