Joint security personnel in Nimba County are working hard to ensure that security along the Liberia-Ivory Coast border remains stable and peaceful, thanks to the involvement of many of the locals.
On Sunday, December 29, a joint security team led by Nimba Police Superintendent Tito Loden — with support from the United Nations Mission in Liberia, (UNMIL) — began another round of what is known as a ‘confidence building’ border patrol along the Liberia-Ivory Coast. border beginning from Dulay in the North to Buutuo in the South.
The security apparatus held a series of discussions with community leaders in almost all towns and villages visited, asking locals to develop some confidence in the security personnel assigned their communities. It was suggested that they stay abreast of any and all information that has the propensity to generate a sense of insecurity or create anxiety.
“This patrol is called ‘confidence building’ border patrol because we want the citizens to have confidence in their security officers so that together, we can combat crime,” Supt. Tito Loden said.
“We depend on you people [heavily] for information to ensure immediate action on any security issue in your area,” said Maj. J Gondah Walkie Jr., Commander BIN Border Patrol Unit in Nimba.
Since the war most of the bordering roads are yet to be rehabilitated, making it very crucial for security operation to be effective.
“There is a shorter road here linking Buutuo to Behwahlay, passing through the home of former SSS Director Yeaten; but it is yet to be rehabilitated,” an elderly lady told this reporter outside of the meeting in Buutuo.
“This piece of road covers several communities, all of which have a crossing point to the Ivory Coast; there is no security assigned to those areas because of the road condition,” she added.
The presence of the patrol team brought great relief to communities bordering the frontier with the Ivory Coast because according to some citizens, the lack of armed security within their areas makes them vulnerable.
“Even though the relationship with our Ivorian counterpart is cordial, the presence of our armed security around us makes us proud and we are very impressed and happy,” said Joseph Gbeadeh, Youth Leader in Gborplay Town.
The patrol team includes the Border Patrol Unit of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, the Emergency Response Unit of Liberia National Police, the UN Head of Field Office in Nimba and UNMIL police.
Meanwhile, the head of UN Field, Mr. Gibril Tory, has thanked the citizens for keeping the peace in Liberia.
He also urged them to collaborate with security personnel so as to maintain the peace and security in the country: “The police cannot operate effectively without your collaboration, and security begins with you. We want peace; and when there is peace, there will be development,” he added.
Insecurity has been looming along the border with the Ivory Coast since 2010, marked by repeated cross-border attacks, allegedly by forces loyal to former Ivorian President, Laurent Gbagbo.
In April, last year, there was shooting around Buutuo on the Ivorian side of the border by the Ivorian military, who became suspicious of a cross-border attack from Liberia.