President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has described the Paris attacks that left 129 people dead and over 90 persons severely wounded as a “senseless tragedy.”
The President made the statement in a very somber mood yesterday when she was escorted by some of her officials to the French Embassy in Monrovia to sign the Book of Condolence.
President Sirleaf early yesterday entered the courtyard of the French Embassy where almost all of her lieutenants were awaiting her, and briefly chatted with Ambassador Joël Godeau before proceeding to sign the Book of Condolence.
The President said signing the Book of Condolence was to show solidarity with the French people. “We are here to express our sadness over the tragedy that happened in Paris and to express our condolences to the government and people of France for the loss of so many lives,” President Sirleaf told reporters after signing the book.
“We want to express our sympathy for such a senseless tragedy against the people of France,” President Sirleaf said, adding: “Anyone who hurts another country through the act of terrorism is doing the same to us, and we must stand with the people of France in this time of sadness.”
She said Liberia is a great friend of France and will always stand with that country, especially in times like these.
Ambassador said his country appreciates the support of the government and people of Liberia. He said the attacks were indeed an act of war against France and that the country will react decisively as the President, Francois Hollande, has said.
“In such circumstances, we even need the support of all of our friends all over the world. And so we are grateful to see a country like Liberia come and express their solidarity with the French people,” he said.
“Yesterday, President Hollande delivered a very important speech before the Senate and the National Assembly saying we are at war with ISIS. It is a special war because the enemies are difficult to target. We will continue to target the so called Islamist State, especially at their so called capital,” the Ambassador said.
He said most of the 129 people that were killed were young people who were enjoying their leisure time on a Friday, adding, “The French people are a strong people and they will surely overcome this as they have done in the past.”
An insider at the embassy said with a series of attack on the country, it seems as though France is now considered as a soft spot for Islamist militants, who have led two successive terror attacks on that country in a matter of months.
The Islamist State (ISIS) militants of Syria have claimed responsibility for the attacks which took place at six different locations in the city of Paris, with the deadliest being at a concert hall where 80 people were killed. The late Friday evening attacks targeted bars, restaurants, a concert hall and the Stade de France, where the French national team was having a friendly encounter with their German counterparts.
Meanwhile, it is now believed that seven Africans were among the 129 people killed in the Paris attacks. They included a Moroccan, two Tunisian women, two Algerians and two Senegalese nationals, media reports have indicated.