Buutuo Border Post Abandoned?

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The Cestos River is the natural boundary between La Cote d'Ivoire (far end) and Liberia at Buutuo. Currently there are no state security forces manning this border post. (Photo: Ishamel F. Menkor, for Daily Observer)

As Ivoirian refugees teem over the border into Liberia for political violence in their home country, it appears all too strange that the once infamous Buutuo border would be deserted on the Liberian side by joint security.

In the wake of the influx of Ivoirian refugees into Liberia in fear of political violence, the border post near the crossing point in Buutuo appears to have been deserted by the officers of the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) and other members of the joint security.

Touring the border on Monday, November 2, the Daily Observer could not see any security officer on the guard post near the crossing point, which connects Buutuo with one of the provincial towns in La Cote d’Ivoire, known as “Binhouye”.

The entire border post was deserted and the offices were all opened, with the perimeters all overgrown with grass as though the guard post were abandoned and no longer active. Buutuo border post is one of the strategic entry/exit points in Nimba, connecting Liberia to La Cote d’Ivoire in the Eastern part of the County.

The border point used to be one of the main sources of revenue collection in the 1980s and still remains an entry point for commodities from Cote d’Ivoire. A key feature of that border crossing is that the Ivoirians constructed a ferry that could cross a 10-tire truck.

Besides being a crossing point where some revenues could be collected, Buutuo border is infamously recorded in Liberian history as the entry point through which armed insurgents loyal to the National Patriotic Front (NPFL) of Liberia, in December 1989, invaded the country and fired the first shots that ignited the 14-year civil war.

During the time of the Daily Observer‘s visit, no officer was spotted at the checkpoint. Although the main gate was closed, there was a bypass used by motorcycles and pedestrians to get to the crosspoint, an indication of vulnerability of the major bordering point. It is not clear what got the officers to abandon the guard post at the border. A man who was fetching water from a handpump near the checkpoint told the Daily Observer that the officers have relocated to a building at the entry of the town away from the borderline.

However, when our reporter returned from the border to the town, he saw no officers in the location shown and no sign of any security presence could be seen until the reporter departed Buutuo. The compound of the statutory superintendent is now overtaken by grass indicating the inactiveness of this major local office.

This compound also hosts the presidential palace built by President William R. Tolbert in the 1970s and renovated by former Senator Adolphus Dolo in 2010. The Statutory Superintendent was not present at the time of this reporter’s visit. Henry Daybah, the caretaker of the office, said he could not speak to the press on any issue because he was not clothed with the authority to do so. However, the stretch of road connecting Bahn and Buutuo is in a very deplorable condition.

The Commissioner’s compound in Buutuo

In a related development, local authorities and citizens of the Kparblee Administrative District are complaining of a shortage of safe drinking water amid the influx of Ivorians refugees.

According to some local chiefs, most of the hand pumps constructed by NGOs are down and as the result, they are compelled to fetch water from the nearby creek or river to meet up with their water demands.

“We embraced the coming of the brothers and sisters from the Ivory Coast, but we are afraid before everything collapsed. We have nine hand pumps in this town, but only one is functioning while the rest are down. Worst of all, the only pump here sometimes runs out of water; making us to get drinking water from the bushes,” said Henry Z. Kwity, the Town Chief of Behwalay.

Behwalay is situated on the bank of the Cestos River, which demarcates Cote d’Ivoire from Liberia. It is one of the towns that is getting crowded with refugees fleeing election violence in that neighboring country. In Kparblee Town, dozens of local residents and refugees were jammed up at the only functioning handpump in the town to get drinking water.

Meanwhile, the looming refugee crisis is likely to increase tension in the host community, in terms of shelter, food, and medicine for the local clinics. Some of the host communities are considering opening the public buildings to accommodate some of the refugees, but the busy necessity to enhance the relief work remains a challenge.

It is not yet known mechanisms the government or the UN Refugee body has set up to cater to these frightened refugees as soon as possible to avoid pressure on the host communities.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Unfortunately for Buutuo, both Senator Prince Y. Johnson and Representative Samuel G. Korgar are from the same town, Gomahplay, Buutuo. Currently there’s no security officer in Buutuo, and Buutuo has one of the worse road conditions in our country.

  2. The Liberian Government must do all as a responsible institution to protect both refugees and host communities so as to coexist

  3. Lord have mercy, why if others bad people enter Liberia illegal things, we all know that we are approaching senatorial election as well..

  4. Wonders never end!!! Joe Biden has won the US Election! And Donald Trump says, he Donald Trump will have to be physically taken away from the White House!!!

  5. The reality is that, if our national government don’t craft political policy that will get the entire country involved in the administrative day by day engagement of running Liberia, sooner than later, Monrovia and its suburban will be Liberia. We need a new direction and roadmap to breed new Liberia by shearing power with the peoples in the 15 different counties to govern themselves hence opening new corridors and hope for changes. We have strived too long in the present direction and the results are like merry go round, meaning, we need a new direction if we really want to get somewhere positive.

    As I said in my previous paragraph, Monrovia and her environment defines Liberia, while the gab of living standards in the rural areas keeps expanding because, there is nothing in the rural areas to live for. The citizens must see reasons for returning to the rural areas or they will dwell in Monrovia because, there where everything is available to sustain a daily life. Why should border town like boutou be deserted? This is not good for Liberia and we need our boarders to be well protected by our national government.

    Just the human population in Monrovia has created a “human traffic” plight in the streets of Monrovia. A 15 Minutes drive will end up becoming a hour drive all practically because of the human traffic, then before summing up the vehicles traffic. We need to start this process by electing our superintendents, hence giving them mandate to govern the people in various counties and subsequently forming the administrative branches in various counties. The police, army and various securities apparatus will be formed in the counties and all taxes collected in the counties will remained in the counties, no more going to Monrovia. This is the way forward and more discussions need to be iron out for best results. Presently, we are abandoning our rural ares and Monrovia is now becoming to be Liberia.

  6. Well, this story proves the inability and incompetence of the officials of the CDC led Government to govern the affairs of this Nation. These jokers see governing in the context of a high school government structures and activities. They are by far removed from reality and cannot comprehend what real governing of a Nation is all about. This CDC Government is ill-responsible, unprepared, and inept to be considered a serious government. If anything, these guys are low class criminals and con-artists, who were mistakenly given positions of authority in this Nation. Unfortunately, they are intolerant and will not allow constructive criticisms. Liberians are in serious trouble for electing bunch of idiots and common criminals into power of authority.

    • Tony, your comment confirms your ignorance, anti government lying disposition, politicized media cheerleader zombie psyche, and indeed, your decadent non capable analytic mentality in terms of national strategic balance of power and national security, since of course, PRIOR TO the rebel invasion by amongst others, Prince Yormie Johnson, Charles Taylor, Tom Woewiyu, Sam Dokie, Moses Blah, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, etc. the Butuo border had always been a “deserted“ non strategic border as the others around the country.

      So, with Senator Prince Yormie Johnson Nimba Igwe (now A RENOWN PRELATE) and the political godfather of all Nimba politicians, and indeed the nation’s KINGMAKER Prince Johnson now “on the ground“, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf with walking stick, Charles Taylor in jail for the rest of the duration of his life, and the rest of their accomplices dead and gone, NOT TO TALK ABOUT THE MILLION MAN ECOWAS ECOMOG BOOTH ON THE ALERT across the region, the status quo of the border is justifiably legitimate. And that is just what it is as other non strategic borders across the country, and as are others on the continent of Africa.

  7. Conrade Joe Akoi,
    What do you mean by “Monrovia will become Liberia”?

    Human traffic in Monrovia:
    The population of Liberia is growing at an alarming rate. Also, there’s too much poverty in the counties. But, let’s not lose track of this reality…..a good number of the residents of Monrovia weren’t born in Monrovia; urban migration from the counties in such of a better life adds to the city being so overcrowded.

    Does anyone deserve to be blamed?

    Some hardcore critics will undoubtedly point fingers at Weah. But an issue such as the growth of the population of Monrovia (or human traffic in Monrovia, as you label it) has been a hot issue few years before Weah’s presidency began. I am a realist. I have no illusions about the fact that Weah will be blamed for almost anything. But the line has got to be drawn! The most irresponsible people in Liberia are the lawmakers. During the last few years, I have not heard a crack from a Liberian lawmaker who has discussed how Monrovia could be de-populated.

    Can the population of Monrovia be lessened? Yes!
    How?
    In my view, affordable housing projects should be built in the nearby counties. Second, the roads from Kakata and Bomi need a modern upgrade… like a two lane situation. If a good number of affordable housing complexes are put up in the nearby counties, a good number of middle class people will be willing to commute to the city of Monrovia. Third, by building these reasonable housing complexes, jobs will be created. For instance, if I choose to reside in Bomi, I will need a cook, a driver (maybe) and many manuel positions can be created.

    Joe, I agree with you on one particular issue: I think the Superintendents of the counties of Liberia should be elected. Furthermore, I believe it’s about time that instead of using the word “superintendent”, we should use the word “governor”. To me, the use of the word governor is modern and more appropriate than the word superintendent.

    • Comrade Hney! How are you doing my platform brother? I hope all is well with you ooh. When I used the phrase about “Monrovia becoming Liberia” the rural part of Liberia is completely empty and the population of Liberia is strategyly base in and around Monrovia. I grew up in Voinjama, lofa county and attended elementary school in voinjama till I graduated in 1983 from the Voinjama Multilateral high school before thinking about migrating to Monrovia in pursuit of college education. If the Junior college was erected by then, probably I had no reasons migrating to Monrovia. At that time, living in the interior of Liberia was just as good as living in Monrovia or kakata or Gbanga. This is not the case as of today’s Liberia. The interior of our nation has totally been abandoned and creating sense of don’t care attitudes from our leaders. I am not blaming Weah in particular, yes I blame Ellen because, they should have decentralized the government since she was being supported by so many friendly nations to Liberia.

      Monrovia was never congested like this before because, the demographic of the population was widely spread all over the 9 counties, territories and districts then, as compared to now. So, slowly, Liberia is becoming to be only Monrovia if we don’t change this style of governing to have everything in Monrovia. Sierra Leone and Guinea took land from Liberia because our leadership at that time had no interest in the rural part of Liberia. Liberia for them at that time was only around the sea cost. The broader town between Liberia and Guinea, called Massathan today was part of lofa county then, called Massada in Lorna, meaning the town of Massa. But the French took that part of Liberia since our leadership at that time show no concerned at all.

      So Mr. Hney, decentralization is the way forward to reduce the population in Monrovia. Archiving this is no easy task but yes, we can have it done. For example, relocating some government ministries in the various countries alongside with some public agencies which will in returned attract residents to migrate to these counties in search of work and better living conditions. Do you expect people to migrate in the interior of Liberia, considering the present situation? Absolutely no and this is because, there is nothing there for them in terms of employment opportunities. Even the Lutheran highest institution of learning build in Salayea, lofa county, LTI alongside with the voinjama Multilateral high schools and the Holy cross mission in Bolahun, ran by the espiscopals were amoung the best high schools in my days of high schooling in Liberia. All these famous institutions are siting in the rural part of Liberia while class rooms are parked jammed to capacity in Monrovia. Our leaderships need to act very fast because, we are loosing our interior regions of Liberia to turned into bushes that once dwell and homes so many Liberians.

  8. Hello Joe,
    I am doing pretty good. Thanks very much for asking. I am very tired this morning. By His grace, I will be okay. As usual, I need a decaffeinated cup of tea or coffee. Hopefully, that will boost my pizzazz!

    Yap, I understand everything you’ve said. The counties of Liberia are losing their native sons and daughters because the hard times are on
    the rise. The saddest thing is that poverty increases as people migrate to Monrovia. That’s because people who migrate do not have the education or any marketable skills. Something has to be done.

    I maintain the view that the lawmakers of Liberia can do more. Unfortunately, they’re not proactive. They’re like sitting ducks! The lawmakers’ silence on the most pressing issues of Liberia makes them unfit and less patriotic. Some commenters and readers alike may think that I envy or hate the country’s “do-nothing” lawmakers. No, I do not. But I blame the lawmakers because they are detached from the development process of Liberia.

    I was in Liberia last year. A friend of mine came all the way from Lofa county in order to talk to me about a business proposal. It took the poor guy almost three (3) days to get to Monrovia because the road was bad. And so I ask…….”where are the lawmakers of Lofa”? Look Joe, I am not saying this in order to singlehandedly blame the lawmakers of your county. The lawmakers of Maryland, Kru Coast and just about all of them throughout Liberia are detached from the harsh realities of the country. People wonder…. where’s their adroitness….?

    The lawmakers get a fat check every month! But bad roads exist in each of their respective counties. To them, it’s okay to get their fat checks, but it’s not okay for the roads to be worked on. To me, it is staggering, despicable and therefore, a national chaos.

    Joe, if you have some money, invest in any of the counties of Liberia. If you employ a few Liberians, God will bless you. I was planning a trip to Liberia in order to do “something” this year, sadly Covid-19 is here with us. Let’s hope that a good vaccine will be found soon. God is in charge!

  9. Comrade Hney,

    I love you so much! Please, don’t venture into Weah’s Liberia. Your little and hard-earned cash will be blown in the thin air and you may eventually meet an untimely end.
    If you want to do something now, start buying the land and tactfully start investment through trusted family member/s.

  10. Mon petite Frere,
    Welcome back! Your 6-day hiatus got me worrying. I wondered what could have taken a toll on you since the election. I didn’t think you were sick, but I thought maybe you were enroute to DC in order to help in terms of calming the bad nerves of Trump, the modern day polarizer.

    Before going any further, I thank you very kindly for giving me your heartfelt advice. I have read a lot of things you’ve written. Some of the things you wrote were acceptable while some could be politely excused. But your suggestion which calls for extreme caution as it relates to investing in Liberia at the present time has been positively embraced. I will be careful. Thanks very much!

    You see, I am of the opinion that the government of Liberia (and all governments worldwide) cannot solve the problems of employment, except, maybe Alexander Benedict Cummings! So, in order for the Liberian government and people of Liberia to be helped, the people…..we…. should invest in our country. The simplest way I look at it is this way…….
    If you make a cassava farm, you will definitely hire a few hands. To sell the cassava, you will hire a few people to do the selling. By hiring a few Liberians, you’re in fact putting coppers in the pockets of a few. That amounts to reducing unemployment.

    *********** American Politics********
    Trump is the loser! The very networks of America that declared him to be a winner in 2016, have said he is the loser this time. Trump is adamant. There’s no way I could beat around the green grass! You are an avowed Trump supporter. Do you think Trump’s brand of democracy is good for America and to a lesser extent, should the “s—hole countries of Africa photocopy such a democracy from him? I am off to work. I will respond later

    As always, ☮️

  11. Grand Frere,

    Let me start by correcting your French:
    Next time, you must write “Petit Frere”. The ‘e’ at the end of “petite” refers to a feminine gender (women or things with feminine gender). If I were a girl / woman, you would have been right to write or say “Petite Soeur”, but since I am a man, you should write “Petit Frere”!

    With the highest respect and opinion I have for you, I disagree with you when you say the government of Liberia cannot provide jobs but the citizens.
    Governments everywhere in the world lay foundations and serve as catalysts for sustainable development. When these fundamentals are in place, a government in a liberal economy then serves as the invisible hand (Adam Smith).

    I continue to underscore the need for the government of Liberia to embark on the fundamentals namely education, which must lead to a customized national electrification plan, interconnecting the lengths and breadths of the country with paved roads (not Walsh’s moto roads), lay out our cities and towns with sewage lines and sanitation plans.
    When the above are done, the government will then begin to serve as a catalyst to regulate the free market economy.

    I will take your example of the cassava farm you wish to make in Liberia. You can have a better overview of such project if you went to CARI, got a technical data sheet that would provide you with details on how to proceed; from clearing to planting and then investing, with estimated overheads and profit margins per hectare.
    This can never be done without the government inputs. By you going to CARI for this document, you will be indirectly paying the agronomists who undertook the project for you. The government adds values when you successfully implement the project where you will pay taxes, provide jobs for at least 5 people within the production chain.

    There is nothing of such in Weah’s anti-poor agenda. The above example is a typical pro-poor agenda that had made many 3rd world countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, etc. to overcome and now counted among emerging economies.
    I have NEVER seen nor heard of any of these ideals in any political platforms in Liberia EXCEPT the ANC of Alexander B. Cummings.

    Liberia is a pity, grand frère! We lack the basics, yet we destroy the few brains coming to serve the nation. Just in 8 days, 4 good brains were eradicated, where are we going? We must be happy to have such people to ensure transparency and good governance, why kill them so young? Their blood is crying out to the Lord for vengeance, like other innocent blood we have spilled on nonsensical grounds.
    I agree I don’t see eye to eye with many people on this blog and in Liberia, but I would beg Liberians to try the other people who think differently and see what they can add to our society.

    American Politics:
    Well, the election has not been called yet. Let’s watch and see, I will comment later. There are 5 states that have not be certificated yet. The counting and investigations are ongoing. America has some of the finest people with unmatched patriotism. The dust will be settled intelligently and there will be a peaceful transfer of power or a continuation. I strongly believe in the latter case, from my inner man!

    Salutations, Grand Frere!
    Pray for Cote d’Ivoire!

  12. Mr. Defender,
    Big deal! But thanks anyway for the correction in French. In my whole life, I took a semester of French.

    Issue #1
    I didn’t say that the government of Liberia cannot provide jobs but the citizens can. I would like you to re-read that again. With regard to the issue of citizens’ help in terms of providing jobs, I am 100% correct. My point (was, is) all governments, (not just the government of Liberia) are unable to create every bit of a job in the country. Sometimes, individuals or groups of people invest. Through investment, jobs can be created!!! In America, the Federal government does not create every bit of the jobs in this country. Take a look at Walmart. Walmart employs over 100,000 employees. Walmart operates within the framework of the government’s labor laws.

    Issue #2
    The Government Can Create The Atmosphere….
    If you will recall, I told you that in America, the government of the US creates the means…. but I used the word mechanism during that discussion. The issue we discussed came about as a consequence of something Alexander Benedict Cummings said during his run for the presidency. Cummings said he would create 100,000 jobs in approximately 100 days. I countered his comment by saying that:

    (1) In a democratic society (unless the society has a socialist bent) most jobs are created in the private sector and

    (2) It (was, is) highly unlikely for Cummings to create 100,000 in 100 days. But I also said that as time goes on, (during his presidency) Cummings will probably be able to create 100,000 jobs in a few years. Again, if he is fortunate to become president, Cummings would like to create jobs. I have no problem with his job-creation effort. My point is that jobs can be created as he goes on. But he will be unable to create 100,000 jobs in 100 days. The act of creating 100,000 jobs in just 100 days amounts to a “political talking point”.

    Issue #3
    Go To CARI….
    I refuse to go the CARI route. Poor countries have sought advise over the years until their money got used up. I am not planning to make a cassava farm as a means of investment. However, if I had any plans in the pipeline to make a cassava farm, I would proceed with my own knowledge than the knowledge of people. I am my own man.

    Issue #4…. American Politics
    Don’t kid yourself! The networks have said unanimously that the Biden-Harris ticket has won. There could be a network in space or in hell that the Trumpians are waiting for.

    Of course, some states have not been certified yet. But there’s a reason. The reason is that some ballots are still being counted. In fact as the count goes on, Biden’s numbers go up and up. You will do well in Trump’s camp. But Trump is shamefully going down in flames.

    Finally remember what I told you…… Alexander Benedict Cummings is tagged with Trump. Cummings will fade away slowly. You need to re-align with someone else.

  13. I am willing and ready to realign with someone else, if and only if such person will have a better platform for Liberia than Cummings. Not only that, the person must also be morally clean to unite our people and qualified to embark on sustainable development.
    To date, I see no one of such caliber in the political arena. Maybe you (Grand Frere Hney) should create the interest and go public. We will then do a background check on you before throwing in our weight. To date, though I admire your intellectualism, I do not know you to make a judgment on your capacity and moral probity to lead Liberians. Howbeit, your pragmatism and defense of some issues sometimes leave me perplexed, trickling many questions at the corner of my mouth for my support for you as a leader of Liberia.

    Liberians need to take the bull by the horn to dare accept excellence, promote and uphold it. From history, every breakthrough (technological innovations, scientific discoveries, architectural and engineering prowess or philosophical perspectives) can be attributed to ordinary people with extraordinary imagination (great people). These people stood out among their peers for their brilliance. Dear Liberians, let’s copy this example to make our country to join the comity and community of nations.

    Dr. Dr. Dr. Weah, a grade 9 dropout with 3 honorary doctorate degrees, will NEVER add any value to the economy of Liberia. He will rather destroy the little achievement from the Ellen’s administration.
    Do you see the 4 people he just silenced? He doesn’t know the pains and sacrifices they bore to reach to where they were academically. Only people who have travelled that road will understand and know the importance of their lives.

    Your Issue # 3
    If you were to make a cassava farm, can you frankly and openly tell the readership here that you would proceed with your own knowledge?
    This statement alone is typical of Liberians and very frustrating indeed. Because Liberians want to be Jack of all trades but master of none. We unprofessionally do things with more efforts yielding unsubstantial results. “When you need an expert, hire one, don’t try to be one” – Robert Schuller.
    Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire now grow cocoa that can produce over 3 to 4 months. How did they get there? Through research, specialists came up with this solution because both countries know their mainstay is agriculture.
    If you cannot pay your researchers at CARI, pretending to know everything, how do you expect our agronomists to be paid? By the way, you will NEVER get a better yield and your farming will NEVER be profitable. Unless you want to continue your subsistence farming method, barely feeding your family of at most 5 people.
    Until we understand the importance of every profession in our society, we will continue to blindly move a financier to diplomacy, a journalist to management position, an accountant to environment protection agency, a preacher man to oversee technical infrastructure, etc.

    American Politics
    I am excited to see what is transpiring in the USA. The world is coming to a point where respect will indeed be mutual, at least.
    These democrats break down other countries for election fraud, yet they are as fraudulent as those third world countries. They desperately want Trump out because the guy is disturbing “the world order” enacted under OBAMA. We are not surprised of the people congratulating Biden prematurely.
    Trump may go, but he will unearth their malpractices. I am in a country that has continually experienced similar election malpractices.
    Unfortunately for them, no superpower can break down the USA for investigating election frauds, but Cote d’Ivoire was partly broken down with many lives lost for an outgoing president demanding a recount of (legal) votes.

    God is great!

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