Justice Minister Cllr. Benedict Sannoh has assured Liberians that the security sector will obtain full capacity to assume responsibility for the country’s security by June 2016.
Minister Sannoh’s assurance comes in the wake of the anticipated withdrawal of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) peacekeepers by early next year.
He made the disclosure over the weekend at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism’s press briefing on Capitol Hill in Monrovia.
According to Cllr. Sannoh, who is also Attorney General of Liberia, though the training of the security personnel from the different institutions have not reached their full capacity, the government and its partners are committed to ensure that the sector is built fully to assume its rightful duty.
Cllr. Sannoh explained that the public’s trust in the security sector, especially in the performance of the Liberia National Police (LNP) has increased as compared to previous years.
He made specific reference to the just ended special senatorial elections that was conducted in a peaceful environment under the watchful eyes of the police with support of other agencies including those from the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN).
“The training of LNP, BIN, DEA and all the officers from the various security institutions were disrupted due to the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, but we are working to ensure that their training and capacities are up to the required level,” Cllr. Sannoh reiterated.
He then admitted that building the capacity of the country’s security agencies remains a serious challenge to the government.
He disclosed that phase-one of the UNMIL drawdown has been completed, which led to the deployment of the LNP and other security personnel in Grand Cape Mount, Lofa, Nimba and other areas formally manned by the peacekeepers.
“While phase-two of the drawdown was disrupted by the Ebola crisis including the training exercises, it is critical for the government to take over its responsibility from UNMIL,” Minister Sannoh said.
According to him, in spite the outbreak last year, the various security agencies had contributed by protecting lives as well as maintaining law and order in the country.
“We are proud to say that significant progress has been made in the justice and security sector, but there are still challenges as we continue to take steps in our efforts to maintain peace in the country,” Minister Sannoh indicated.
Second Michael Allison Autopsy Report Awaited
In a related development, the Attorney-General has disclosed that the Ministry of Justice is carrying out another autopsy on the late Michael Allison due to the level of public interest in the case.
“The first autopsy was conducted and we are waiting for the second autopsy report. As soon as the report is completed, the information will be provided to the public,” Minister Sannoh assured.
He lauded the international community for the high level of support exhibited in handling some of the country’s major challenges, especially during the Ebola crisis.