The Customs Department of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) has seized and turned over to security authorities four (4) boxes of single barrel rounds smuggled into the country. According to a release from the LRA, the boxes of ammunition were trafficked through Bo-Waterside along the Sierra Leonean border in Grand Cape Mount County and Kpassagisia, along the Guinean border in Lofa County.
The single-barrel rounds were discovered by Customs Anti-Smuggling officers during physical inspection of trafficked goods at the LRA Headquarters in Paynesville.
A state-sanctioned investigative report of the incident indicates that the boxes of ammunition were hidden under other goods that were authorized and cleared for importation.
However, an official at the LRA told the Daily Observer that the identity of the person who illegally imported the ammunition is considered a matter of national security and could not be disclosed.
Presenting the smuggled boxes of ammunition to the Liberia Small Arms Commission and other government security apparatus, LRA Assistant Commissioner for Customs Compliance and Enforcement, Attorney D. Blamo Kofa, said the illicit importation of small arms threatens the peace and security of the state.
He asserted that the illegal importation of small arms poses a “serious risk to the safety of the population”, noting that these weapons could land in the hands of unscrupulous individuals who may use them to harm or terrorize peaceful citizens.
Assistant Commissioner Kofa reaffirmed the commitment of the LRA Customs Department in ensuring an effective border security and protection under the LRA’s border management strategy.
The Vice Chairperson of the Liberia Small Arms Commission, Madam Bennietta T. Jarbo, meanwhile, lauded the Customs Department of LRA for being very vigilant in discovering and seizing ammunition illegally imported into the country. She warned against the illicit importation and use of firearms and light weapons by unlicensed individuals, noting that those involved in such trade and practices will be prosecuted.
For his part, Deputy Chief of the Small Arms Control Unit at the Liberia National Police, Chief Superintendent Roland S. Jimmy, thanked the Customs Department for the interception and called for continuing collaboration among state security agencies in dealing with the illegal importation and use of small arms and light weapons in the country.
In April this year, the Customs Department of the LRA also intercepted and turned over to the National Security Agency single barrel shotgun rounds illegally imported into the country by truck through a land border from Sierra Leone.