Special Awards In Pictures

-Human Right Activist Warns County Vulnerable 

A local human right activist has observed that the ineffective of the police in fighting crimes in Grand Kru County is due to the inadequate number of officers assigned in the area.

The activist, who hailed from the county, indicated that the rare deployment of assigned police officers across Grand Kru County is not only worrisome but it makes the area susceptible to ritualistic killings, illicit drug trade and increased crime rate, all of which are potential threats that could lead to serious conflict.

Making the observation Tuesday May 9, 2017 when he walked into the offices of this paper upon his return from the southeast, Hanson T. Doe disclosed that the low presence of assigned police officers in the county does not only “threaten peace and security in the county alone but also the country at large.”

“Immigration officers are now performing the duties of police officers in Grand Kru County, and because of this I am afraid that in the face of the pending 2017 general and presidential elections our people are not safe,” Mr. Doe told reporters.

The local human right activist said his statement is predicated by a number of observations he made during the 10th development council sitting held in Barclayville from May 4 to 7, 2017.

Doe, who did not provide reasons for such reported inadequate deployment of police officers in the county, further emphasized that it is of serious security concerns that the lack of assigned police officers in the area is quite worrisome and it is “a situation that makes Grand Kru County vulnerable to anything that might happen.”
“With the proliferation of ghettos in nearly all the towns, communities and villages the county is in danger because in the absence of law enforcement, criminal activities are always on the increase,” the human right activist disclosed.

He added that his fear is that such a situation could give the locals the opportunity to engage in mob violence, as public confidence in the police to enforce law and order is undermined.

Though Doe acknowledged the presence of few police officers assigned only in Barclayville, he named the lack of logistics including vehicles, motorcycles to be used by the few police officers to patrol, as some of the major challenges to enforce law and order in the county.

“I foresee serious conflict that might likely happen if there is no law and order especially when one feels cheated in the upcoming elections. Once the county is not safe anyone can take advantage of the situation in the county to create serious conflict that might spill over to the rest of the country,” Mr. Doe observed.

He cited increase in violence, ritualistic killings and illicit drug sale and addiction at the various artisanal mining sites that are crowded with petty traders from Monrovia, Guinean, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Ghana, as some of the issues of rising security concerns in the face of inadequate deployment of police officers in county.

Doe said he vividly recalled that during the voter registration exercise, only immigration officers were seen providing protection for voter materials and registrars. But, Doe added that the inspector general of the Liberia National Police, Col. Gregory Coleman informed local residents attending the development council sitting in Barclayville that there were 20 police officers assigned in the county, and everything is being done to increase the size of police officers to maintain law and order in the county.

Responding to queries of three cases of ritualistic killings in the county, “Col. Coleman assured the people that investigations concerning the most recent death of a lady that was allegedly killed are ongoing and findings will be made public,” Doe quoted the police boss.

However, the local human right activist used the occasion to call on the Government of Liberia and international partners to act quickly ahead of the 2017 general and presidential elections as not doing so there is a probability that the county could be a threat to security in the southeast.

“We are calling on all law enforcement agencies and other security apparatus to increase its presence in the county ahead of the pending elections in the country,” he added.

With the land area measuring 3,895 square kilometers (1,504 sq mi), the county`s current population, according to LISGIS 2008 Housing and Population Census is 57, 913.

With 20 police officers and the population size of 57,913, increasing deployment of more officers in the county must be a major priority to the government especially when the general and presidential elections draw closer.

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