UK Issues Terrorist Alert on Liberia

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In spite of safety and security concerns raised by the British government, it admits that Liberia has become increasingly stable since the internal conflict ended in 2003. (Flashback: Liberian police try to keep protesting civilians under control during the presidential election of 2011. However, the conduct of the 2017 elections process was much more peaceful.)

The British Government’s issuance of a “terrorist attack” alert on Liberia has sent the Liberian media into virtual overdrive, driven by an anxious public in search of answers to ease their growing concerns and apprehension about the consequences of such an attack.

The British Government on Tuesday of this week issued a terror alert warning that there is heightened threat of a terrorist attack against UK interests and British nationals by elements that draw inspiration from ongoing developments in Syria and Iraq.

The alert did not state when or where the attack is expected to be mounted but it has warned British nationals in Liberia and those desirous of traveling to Liberia to avoid beach resorts, hotels, cafes, crowded areas and restaurants frequented mainly by foreigners.

The terror alert further warned that attacks in Liberia cannot be ruled out, given the experience from Mali, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso — especially Cote d’Ivoire, where there was the least thought of a terrorist attack prior to the incident a fair distance from the border with Liberia at Maryland County. And although La Cote d’Ivoire had experienced a civil war and occasional armed clashes along its border with Liberia, it was least imagined that terrorists would have struck the port city of Grand-Bassam in the country’s southeast, quite a long distance from Mali where UN troops are currently involved in peacekeeping operations.

This situation notwithstanding, Liberian security officials, according to sources, are taking the matter seriously and the Liberian joint security apparatus, along with  the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS), are reviewing the matter with a view to countering the threat or adopting measures to mitigate whatever potential harm may result should terrorist elements actualize the threat to attack foreign interests in Liberia, be they British, American or otherwise.

But sources say that while the threat of a terrorist attack cannot be ruled out, official threat assessment reports do not appear to suggest that the likelihood of such an occurrence is high or else the UNDSS would have by now increased its threat response to Phase 3, which calls for the adoption and introduction of heightened threat response mitigation measures.

Meanwhile, in the wake of the terror alert issued by the UK, there have been increasing calls from the public on security authorities, particularly the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS), to beef up security along the country’s porous borders with Guinea, Sierra Leone and La Cote d’Ivoire, as well as to conduct screening exercises aimed at ferreting out illegal immigrants, some of whom could possibly be terrorists lying in wait for the appropriate moment to strike.

According to sources, the Liberia National Police(LNP) has also stepped up its night patrols and erected checkpoints at various places around the city in a bid to deter any would-be attacker from bringing in arms, ammunition and other warlike materials into Monrovia, the country’s largest urban settlement with a population of over one million persons. The erection of checkpoints around the city as well as the introduction of other security measures, according to police sources, are also intended to combat the growing crime wave in Monrovia, especially violent crimes involving the use of firearms and other dangerous weapons.

It, however, remains to be seen whether an over-stretched poorly trained and poorly equipped national security apparatus, including military and para-military forces, have the mettle to keep the lid on the unfolding of any such untoward developments.

Authors

16 COMMENTS

  1. This is serious issue, the authority should not take this for granted, let us all help to identify strange individuals, and everyday activities in our various community,and alert the police.

  2. The Brits are passing on an important yet routine alert to their nationals in mostly unprepared vulnerable security-threat environments such as Liberia, and the West African countries listed. Most likely, it was prompted by resurgence of violence between Israelis and palestinians, which often leads to al Qaeda or al Qaeda-related terrorist groups striking, wherever possible, at westerners they consider enablers of a militarily-superior Jeweish state.

    In other words, this isn’t a credible actionable intelligence indicating that terrorists have zeroed on Liberia at a particular locality , date, and time. And usually the same preventive policing measures this proactive general information anticipates and expects from us, is being carried out more purposefully inside Britain, France, the US, Germany, etc., where there have been continual successful terrorist-inspired violence.

    For instance, the August 7, 1998 simultaneous US embassy bombings in East Africa whick killed 200 people were directed at the Americans, not Kenyans or Tanzanians, though they suffered the most. This suggests that in asmuchas Liberia is responsible for the safety of everybody on her soil, the targeted western countries have moral and pragmatic obligations to train, equip, and fund the readiness of our security apparatus.

    Our law enforcement and intelligence collection agencies must beef up vigilance at the specified entertainment areas, including ports of entry, border points, etc., which incidentally would help in containing recent increase in burglaries and armed robberies. However, the Liberian government alone can’t afford the cost of what is envisaged. Neither should our security sector overextend itself, nor get fatigued as to not ably execute traditional functions, for example, ongoing homicide investigations, traffic duties, VIP protection, or, for that matter. monitor reported expanding espionage activities of overconfident foreign spies and their unpatriotic greedy undercover Liberian agents.

    To end, nowhere in this comment am I underestimating the British concerns. What I do know is that if there was definitive evidence of a coming terrorist act in Liberia, Britain would’ve secretly informed the government, and evacuated her citizens. Truth be told, the whole world has been on terrorist alert since PLO gunmen massacred Israel’s athletes during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany.

    Instead, what I’m saying are the following: Let the security sector be vigilant; let civilians report anything unusual; let government rightfully ask the western embassies in Monrovia to assist in meeting terrorist threats mostly aimed at their interests; and let’s do the unusual by learning to operate from the standpoint or certainty of knowledge. In fact, let’s remember a consequential lesson from our past – Seldom does emotionalism, uninformed overzealousness, or the panic of fear result in appropriate required response to a public safety or national security challenge.

  3. Regarding the above statement “monitor reported expanding espionage activities of overconfident foreign spies and their unpatriotic greedy undercover Liberian agents”, it is better adhering to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) motto taken from John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free”.

    So the truth of the matter is that our country maintains a dubious record of being, perhaps, the only sovereign state without a counter espionage division within the intelligence community to specifically identify and track foreign spies and their local agents for the felonies they commit on our soil, which their countries spend untold sums and severe punishments to prevent on theirs. More so, after foreign spies were unmasked by members of the public for their direct and indirect roles in events leading to, during, and after our genocidal destabilizing civil war.

    Our insane ignorance happens to be bliss as they not only go scot free, but routinely give orders which other foreign spies to watch. A national security nightmare is thus created where some Liberians are more loyal to the interest of aliens that dazzled them with money and favors than the stability and protection of their own freaking country. In America, FBI, CIA, military officials and civilians caught in these unpatriotic endeavors are locked up for long prison terms, and legally executed if America happens to be at war with the enemy being spied for.

    So when we talk about securing Liberia, the approach ought to be holistic. For instance, though the US and Israel are allies, and US policy in the Middle East hinges on protecting that country, a Jewish-American Jonathan J. Polland, who was an analyst in the US Navy, was sentenced to life imprisonment for spying on behalf of Israel. Security readiness is centered on knowing whatever criminal activities everyone in the country, foreigner and citizen, is engaged in. And it is probable, though the powers -that-be were lukewarm to the idea when suggested in October 1980, a neglect we all paid a costly price for.

    • Moses, I agreed with your piece,but the security apparatus doesn’t have a plan to be activated to the highest level for prevention or mitigation of the warning giving by the British Intelligence.

  4. It’s just now coming tp light; now that Great Britain have weighed in. “The Terrorists” have always had international aims. It’s only a matter of time for them to make their move(s) at their convenience. Today’s Liberia must constantly watch out for the “BAD FELLOWS”. Liberia should reconsider. Bring-back the National Bureau Of Investigation; to watch over the NATION’S SECURITY in conjunction with other SECURITY FORCES. Thanks!

  5. Brother Henry Freeman, it was always evident – you just didn’t have access to the confidential information, or had the need to know! The only difference is that with social media platforms, some of these facts can be aired out. If social media technology existed in the 1980’s, there wouldn’t have been no civil war. Because the intelligence information we supplied to crazy greedy fools, who wanted trouble in the country for their own self- aggrandizements, would have been out there for all to see. With hindsight, it still bothers me today!

  6. Excuse the double negatives, but I’m pissed that Liberia has been taken advantage of all the bloody time.

  7. The British Intel has warned Liberia’s leadership about a potential terrorist activity! The warning should be taken seriously because the British Intel is one of the best in the business. My hope is that the Weah government will swiftly act before something happens and not after it happens.

    Clarification by example:
    In the snowy states of America, usually city mayors urge their snow removal crew in all cities to draw contingency plans for snow “before” the snow falls from the skies. In Liberia, the rain comes down hard. However, previous governments of Liberia have failed to do what’s usually done in America. Liberian leaders do not “prepare for the downpour neither do they draw contingency plans for motor roads” before it rains. As a consequence of poor planning, roads usually get messy during the rainy seasons. The message is simple, but yet powerful! Act before something happens. Get in the preparation mode.

    So, let’s hope for the best with regard to the British Intel alert. Weah deserves a benefit of the doubt. He is a younger guy, he listens and he seems to be in the right lane at the present time. I am sure that Weah will “act before” anything happens, terrorwise. Realistically, I hope nothing happens. But, it is always good to be in a state of preparedness for any eventuality.

  8. To all my fellow Liberians, if we know the enemy and know ourselves we need not to prepare for the results. The terrorist are not after Liberians, as one commentators just said. They are after Westerner’s and their interest. It is unfortunate that we Africans and third world nations pay the heavy price. I m quiet sure Western intelligent and their underground foot soldiers around the world, can assist our poor country security agent to pinpoint the would be target.

    I m quiet sure if there were any social media around in the 80s, we Liberians would have gotten a hint of the coup that brought the PRC to power. We would have known actually if the Unknown Soldier (at the junction of UL and the Executive Mansion) was actually a Liberian soldier or foreign agent.

    To end, let the western powers help us fight this war. It is not our making, we just find ourselves caught between the rock and the hard place. Liberia is a poor country, our people are fighting to survive.
    My love to all Liberians

  9. We have reason to worry. With our security not being paid, they would open our borders for $100. Liberia likes to follow these big countries that can protect themself. We have no fish to fry in these things so we should not be voting or trying to please these super powers who only use us and then look the other way. We never had terrorist before Bush went to Iraq. Now the whole world is suffering.

  10. General Mamadu Bah is an astute Liberian guy who lives in Sidney, Australia. From a strategic point of view, Bah is enjoying himself in that part of the world. He went to Liberia recently and didn’t bother to see all of his friends and relatives. Going back to Australia (just to enjoy himself) caused him to cut his vacation in half. Bah sometimes writes as if he’s got presidential ambitions. In and of itself, it is not immoral to harbor presidential ambitions in one’s subconscious mind. So, let’s give the guy the respect that he deserves! Regardless of his gentility and ability to analyze issues as he sees fit, I would like to disagree with him for a second, or perhaps a nano second. Here is why.

    Bah does not believe that terrorism is a Liberian problem, but rather a Western problem. Or as Bah puts it, “the terrorists are not after the Liberians”. Ladies and gentlemen, that is where the divergence begins.
    During the decade of the 90s, a US embassy in Kenya, was bombed by terrorists. When aid workers got to the scene of the bombed US embassy, only dead human bodies, (mainly Kenyans) were counted. Question: What did the poor Kenyans do? Why didn’t the terrorists in the bombing incident go after their enemies?

    My point is simple.
    People who commit terror do not give a hoot about whether this man or that beautiful Kpelle or Kru girl is a Liberian or an American. Am I right, ladies and gentlemen?
    Secondly, I would like to remind the Australian-Liberian and others that during the Johnson-Sirleaf government, Liberia contributed troops in order to fight terrosts in Mali. Sadly in 2017, a Liberian serviceman lost his life in combat. Again, my point must and should be made. Terrorists know who their enemies sre. Insofar as we committed troops to do battle in Mali, we are a target, believe it or not.
    Liberians have to be in a state of preparedness! Terrorism is a worldwide problem, it’s not just a Western issue. We ought to take the British Intel alert seriously.

  11. My Great Uncle, F. Hney,, over the course the past 7 months I have learned a lot from your writings. I have come to realized that your comments are always pointing to the middle, not offending or trying to anger anyone party. Like me, your style of writing is to promote peace, and harmony. I hope, as time goes on, I can learn from you more. I m in the science and medical fields. My thinking is that of an ‘exact ideas’. It is very difficult for me to see things the way you see it sometimes. In politics, diplomacy prevailed, therefore; I sometimes find it extremely difficult to look the other way, when things are not what it seams to be. I uphold great respect for you sir, your comments are educating.

    Wasn’t the same British Intel that told 10 Downing Street in 2001 that Saddam Hussein has WMD (weapon of mass destruction)? When parliament voted against the invasion of Iraq, Labour Party leader, Tony Blair, went all out to veto it, on ground that : ‘the British people need to have trust in their security apparatus’. The WMD is yet to be found, as of now. I hope this looming attack over Liberia, is not true, as it was in the case of Iraq.

    You are right, terrorism is a global problem, don’t get me wrong. I m against it in every aspect. We the little guys, are paying heavy price. The British Intel, in good faith, can help our Liberian security system to thwart any possible terrorist attack. Liberia should not be used as a base for any proxy activity. We have paid so much price in the past…..our people want PEACE.
    PEACE AND HARMONY FOR LIBERIANS
    Just my thoughts.

  12. Mr. Mohammed Bah, let’s not confuse ourselves, this British alert must not be compared with the then so-called presence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq, which was an excuse for war. Even then Chief UN Weapons’ inspector Hans Blix had earlier reported that there were no stockpiles of WMD in Iraq though that didn’t dissuade a US leadership bent on invading that country to rid it of Saddam.

    But unlike that false representation, the British are earnest about the probabilty of a terrorist reprisal against their citizens and interests in Africa, includinng Liberia, where public safety readiness is substandard. The fact that the alert wasn’t based on credible actionable intelligence information doesn’t mean terrorists won’t attack Liberia or a country on the continent as payback for events in the Middle East.

    Mr. Bah, your medical-related profession has conditioned you to think in terms of ‘exact ideas’, but national security assessment relies on collecting and analyzing related data through various means and sources to make informed predictions. Britain’s MI5 or MI6, the possible provider of the alert, like the CIA and KGB, should be seen as weather forecaster, and they get it right most of the time. Moreover, in this case – as I said before – was the alert processed intelligence, they would’ve quietly informed our government.

    To close, Mr. Mohammed Bah, your “Great Uncle, F. Hney” is right to be very worried about the information, and correct to suggest that government shouldn’t take it lightly. We should be thankful that the Britons shared their concerns. For instance, people in the MRU basin were exposed to Ebola believed to have been weaponized in foreign-controlled labs in Liberia and Sierra Leone, but those engaged in this dangerous project didn’t even have the courage to speak the truth. The death toll was about 11,315!

    Allegedly, the various political leaderships in the MRU countries shared blood money, and, reportedly, only the Sierra Leanean government closed the lab on their soil. And taken for fools, as usual, “New York Times” and “Washington Post” sold a specious story that the Ebola virus came from monkeys and bats in the Kissi forest of Guinea. By the way, the same fairy tale invented for the origin of aids in Africa. Folks, we must rethink all our national security assumptions and approaches in a survival of the fittest geopolitical jungle: Take the British alert seriously!

  13. This mustn’t happen in Liberia my Lord. We have gone through so many diabolical treatments from some of our leaders who are now enjoying the assets of Liberia while the poor suffer. The forgotten Liberians are doing everything possible to put their lives back together and the mere fact of this pronouncement will thwart our mini joy and put our retarded progress into peril. I am begging those that are planning this evil work should stop now. A note to all my brothers/sisters who are in the security apparatus, please be on the alert and take every info seriously. May God bless the Republic Of Liberia, its people, neighbors and friendly countries around the world. Amen.

  14. General Bah of Sidney, Australia, is insightful, sharp-witted and genteel. Bah, you know exactly what I meant. Lastly, no “roos” in Liberia, please. If need be, wrestle with them there. We need your acumen only. I am grooming you to become a savant. Hang in there young guy. It’s 9:51 Eastern time.

    My dear comrade, Mr. Sylvester G. Moses, took the thunder out of me. In the clearest of terms, Moses’ narration spells out the difference between the WMD fiasco and the recent British Intel alert that was passed on to president Weah. I have nothing else to add to what’s been said. Very explicitly written. Thanks comrade Moses. I read your comments all the time!

    Once again, it’s my hope and prayer that Mr. Weah will do everything that’s necessary to protect the Liberian people.
    Our young men and women can be trained in the area of intelligence gathering. The training should begin now, not next year if in fact it hasn’t been considered.

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