The Liberia Peace Building Office under the Ministry of Internal Affairs recently conducted a cross-border workshop for security officers and other stakeholders residing in Guinea and Liberia.
According to the senior peace-building and reconciliation program manager, Christopher Fayia, the training was intended to keep the security officers and stakeholders abreast of issues that have the propensity to cause insecurity along borders.
He said there are many things that happen in border areas that have the propensity to cause conflict that ordinary citizens and security agents are not aware of. The participants were therefore taught some of the security concerns or what could lead to conflicts.
“We are also training the security agents and civilians to work together in addressing some of these issues before they blow up into full conflict,” Fayia said.
He outlined some of the topics in the workshop as ‘Understanding the concept of early warning’ and ‘identifying and reporting early warning and early response.’
Under the “Identifying and reporting early warning and early response,” Mr. Fayia said they talked about several sub-topics, including ‘Identifying conflict triggers,’ ‘Data collection,’ ‘Safety of reporters,’ ‘Reporting channels’ and ‘Response intervention.’
“This entire training is about early warning and response and it forms part of the national security mechanism,” said Atty. Samuel F. Dakana, national security sector reform coordinator.
Atty. Dakana said some of the topics covered included ‘Conflict issues in communities,’ ‘Election violence prevention/Conflict risks associated with the election’ and ‘National security architecture.’
Under ‘National security architecture,’ topics such as ‘National and county security councils,’ ‘Security sector reform,’ ‘The relationship between Liberian security and their counterparts (both sides of the border),’ ‘Community security relations’ and ‘Cross border trade’ were discussed.
Issues pertaining to natural resource management also formed part of the training, where the participants were given the meaning of natural resources, how to utilize them and their benefits to the community.
The workshop, which brought together about 50 participants including Liberia Immigration Service, Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency, the National Security Agency, Police, women, youth and representatives from border communities, ended with the topic ‘Social cohesion.’
Under this topic, the participants were able to identify conflicts in communities, review conflict management resolution mechanisms and community peace structures and their functions.