The Government of Liberia has expressed deep concerned over an incident where some men believed to be Liberians launched an armed attack on a military barrack in neighboring Cote d’Ivoire.
According to the government, passports and other documents purportedly belonging to the assailants who depict Liberian nationality were put on display by Ivorian authorities.
“The Liberian government strongly condemns any act which disrupts the peace of its neighbors and the region as a whole,” the government said in a press statement. “The government reiterates its commitment to ensuring that no inch of its territory is used as a launchpad for insurrection.”
However, the government has disclosed that it has initiated contact with the Ivorian government to understand the incident and get all facts clearly.
“The government has initiated contacts with its Ivorian counterpart in order to determine the full extent of the reported incident. Additionally, both governments have committed to strengthening the joint border surveillance mechanism.
The three Liberians, according to reports, were shot and killed in Anyama in Abodo, in the Ivory Coast. Confirming the attacks, Ivorian media reported, citing security sources, that two of the assailants were found dead with Liberian passports and driving licenses. The attacked took place on the night of April 20 to 21, 2021, at N’dotré, a military base in the north of the city, the municipality of Abobo. It left one solider wounded.
“On the night of April 20 to 21, at around 1 a.m. local time and GMT, unidentified individuals opened fire on the guard posts of the N’Dotré military base in the commune of Abobo, with the ‘certain intention to enter by force. The immediate reaction of the sentries on the faction gave rise to heavy exchanges of fire, forcing the attackers to flee, “said General Lassina Doumbia, the chief of the general staff of the Ivorian armed forces in this press release.
The statement added: “the provisional toll shows a slight wounded friend side, three killed and one wounded taken prisoner on the enemy side.”
The news of the Liberian alleged mercenaries’ death comes more than four years after 13 Liberians were sentenced to life in prison for “mercenary activity” in Ivory Coast. The men were convicted for their role in attacks on villages in western Ivory Coast in 2011 and 2012.
By then, the Ivory Coast was rocked by months of post-election violence after former President Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down despite losing the November 2010 presidential runoff to Alassane Ouattara.
Three weeks after deadly double assault
The attack on N’Dotré military base, according to Ivorian media reports, comes three weeks after a deadly double assault on the defense and security forces, attributed to jihadists, in northern Côte d’Ivoire, bordering Burkina Faso, a country ravaged by the atrocities of many Islamist groups.
The media report said, on March 29, “around sixty heavily armed terrorists from Burkina Faso” attacked an army position in Kafolo, while the second attack targeted a gendarmerie post in Kolobougou, a locality also bordering Burkina Faso.
Meanwhile, the statement added that the administration of President George Weah has worked tirelessly to build on the sisterly relationship the country has with the Cote d’ Ivoire, including the President’s personal connections with the Ivorian leader.
“The Liberian government recognizes that conflict in any of the Mano River Union countries doesn’t serve the best interest of Liberia. President Weah has therefore announced his intention to shortly dispatch a delegation to Cote d’Ivoire to meet with the Ivorian authorities,” the statement said.
The statement added that both governments expressed commitment to strengthening joint security surveillance along borders.