UNMIL Drawdown Breeds Watch Teams

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As the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) withdraws, the creation of community watch teams is rapidly spreading in Monrovia and its environs in direct response to the increasing incidents of armed robberies, security analysts have confirmed to the Daily Observer.

The UNMIL drawdown ends on June 30, 2016.

In addition to armed robberies are ‘heart men’ activities have also escalated in many parts of the country as the 2017 general elections draw closer and contenders for political office engage in the sacrifice of body parts to fulfil their ambitions.

In separate armed robbery incidents in Morris Farm and Wood Camp communities in Paynesville in April, armed robbers made away with cash and property valued at thousands of Liberian and United States dollars.

In one of the two incidents, a resident of Morris Farm identified as Bob Aaron Sattie sustained a serious ear injury.

Mr. Sattie, a Sierra Leonean national, disclosed that US$3,500 and L$150,000 were taken away by the armed robbers.

Many residents interviewed fear that with the UNMIL drawdown next month, the armed robbers will step up their attacks against homes and businesses unless the security agencies are able to step into the vacancy and protect citizens and residents.

Fatorma B. Siafa, 54, of Wood Camp said the community will buttress the efforts of the Liberia National Police’s (LNP) night time patrols in their area.

“It is difficult, if not impossible, for police officers to always be present in every corner of our city,” Mr. Siafa reasoned.

Beatrice M. Williams, 44, also of Morris Farm, said the community watch teams should be provided with basic security training to be able to protect the residents.

Businessman Joe B. Washington, 65, of ELWA King Gray Community told the Daily Observer that the community watch team initiative will greatly enhance the work of LNP officers in preventing and combating armed robberies.

“Armed robberies could be minimized in Monrovia through a community based collaborative initiative such as watch teams involving community residents,” said Mr. Washington.

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