The Daily Observer has been told that there are fewer than 10 law enforcement officers in Vahun District, Lofa County.
Three Police and four Immigration (BIN) officers provide security for a population of 17,137 in the district comprising three clans.
Vahun District is so close to the border with Sierra Leone that most of its residents conduct a majority of their daily business activities with the Sierra Leonean border town of Kenema.
Most of the inhabitants have the Sierra Leonean accent and are predominantly of the Mende-speaking tribe.
The Sierra Leonean currency is also legal tender in that part of the country and it is exchanged at 100 Liberian dollars to 5,000 Leones.
Our reporter, who recently travelled with Vice President Joseph Boakai to the district, found time off to speak with both the police and immigration officers.
A police officer (named withheld) revealed that they are only three officers assigned to the entire district. A look around in the police cell, housed within the head office at the far end of the city, took journalists by surprise and drew a question for the police officer.
What happened that the cells are empty and the doors are open? They are even very clean.
The police officer responded, “This is a very lawful district. We don’t have any trouble here. We work along with the youth leader who helps us to keep the peace among the young people. They respect him a lot and don’t cause trouble for us and themselves.”
Further down the road toward the main border post with Sierra Leone, is the BIN office. It is housed in a thatched hut, which leaks profusely when it rains.
The hut is at least a mile and half away from the main demarcation line dividing Sierra Leone and Liberia.
At the time of the visit, Wednesday, May 20, only two BIN officers were on duty and one of them revealed that they were only four assigned in the district, which has more than 10 illegal entry points and at least one international crossing point.
One of them stated: “We need good space to operate from. We are operating from this makeshift place as national security officers. This does not look presentable at all for us as a country.”
He stated that they usually abandon their post whenever it begins to rain because the hut leaks.
VP Boakai was last week in Vahun to tell Lofaians thanks for working together to flush Ebola out of the county. He promised “personally to fix” a particular bad spot on the only road that links the district with the rest of the country.
During most of the 15 years of civil war, the district was completely cut off from the rest of Liberia, except by bush paths.