Cote d’Ivoire Terrorist Attack Claims Security Attention

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(L-R) Senator Steven Zargo, Abraham Kromah, and Saah Gbollie.jpg

The terrorist attack at a resort in neighboring la Cote d’Iviore has claimed the attention of some former Liberian security personnel who have suggested robust action to counter such an event happening in Liberia.

Three former senior national security officers are suggesting the need to put in place a robust intelligence network as some of the means to help avert the unsuspecting terrorist attacks across the sub-region.

Senator Steven Zargo, chairman on Defense, Intelligence and Veterans Affairs and former CID director; Abraham Kromah, former deputy police director for operations; and Saah Gbollie, a professor of criminal justice at the AME Zion University and former chair of the House Committee on National Security, made the suggestion Monday, a day after terrorists attacked a popular tourist resort in Grande Bassam, La Cote d’Iviore, leaving at least 16 civilians, security personnel and attackers dead.

The former security heads unanimously agreed that the national security sector should concentrate on intelligence and become proactive especially at all border entry points, including land, air and sea.

Mr. Kromah was specifically referring to the police Emergency Response Unit (ERU), which he vouched had undergone six months of state-of-the art basic training in counter-terrorism, hostage rescue and the protection of very important persons (VIPs.)

The men called for a case study of what transpired in Mali, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast to be able to design mechanisms and a blueprint “to guide us as to how we conduct ourselves to avert the occurrence of some of these issues on our soil.”

The three former officers made the observation at a local radio talk show in Monrovia. They also called for passage of the Police and Immigration Act, describing it as vital for Liberia’s national security arrangements in the wake of United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) drawdown by June this year.

Senator Zargo, who chairs the Senate Committee on Defense, Intelligence, Security and Veterans Affairs, informed his colleagues that justice and due diligence have been done to the Police Act after some sticky issues were harmonized, promising that passage is not far.

In the wake of preparation for the eventual UNMIL drawdown, Zargo disclosed that the government of Liberia has crafted a national security transition plan of US$103 million, of which amount he said government has so far put forth US$20 million, “and this quarter we need additional US$30 million and we are calling on our international partners to [work] with us in preparation of our resolve to avert another tragedy.”

The need to assist members of private security firms and include them into the national arrangement was suggested, while installation of CCTV cameras at hotels, resorts, hospitals and all locations with major installations was also put forward.

All these can be successful, according to the participants, if the security sector is capitalized both financially and logistically.

Meanwhile, the former officers are calling on the general public to play more inquisitive roles by checking on strange individuals in their communities and entertainment centers, and check on strange vehicles.

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