Ahead of 2016 drawdown by United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), Bomi County Superintendent, Samuel Folley Brown, said the county has established a Security Council. He said that the exercise is to fill in the security vacuum that would be created in the absence of UNMIL from the county.
Superintendent Brown made the disclosure when he briefed the Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) of the United Nations in Liberia, Farid Zarif, during his recent visit to the county. He said what the County Security Council need is empowerment in the form of training, logistics and resources to enable it to function effectively.
“Security after UNMIL’s withdrawal is of concern to residents of the county, and so we appeal to the international community including the UN to empower Liberia’s security agencies,” LINA quotes Supt. Brown as telling Mr. Zarif.
In remarks, SRSG Zarif observed that if there will be any security threats, they will come from persons residing in the country, not from external threats to Liberia. He then assured the audience of the UN’s standby preparedness to react to any and all threats to the country, should there be a need for it. During his first county visit to Grand Gedeh County, he urged the Liberian authorities to step up efforts to take full charge of the country’s security as UNMIL draws down. The international community, he said, remains committed to help Liberia meet the expected challenges.
The UN Security Council recently extended UNMIL’s stay in Liberia until September 30, 2016, but authorized a reduction in the number of its personnel as preparations continue for the security transition to the country’s authorities next year. According to a resolution that was unanimously adopted by the 15 member body, the Council, “affirms its expectation that the Liberian government will assume fully its security responsibilities from UNMIL no later than June 30, 2016, and encourages member states and multilateral organizations to continue to provide financial, technical and other assistance to the GOL (government of Liberia) in this regard.”
In his latest report on UNMIL, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that it will be a “historic moment” when the GOL assumes all its security responsibilities from the Mission. “It will be an important milestone, a demonstration of confidence that Liberia has turned from conflict, disorder and dependence to a future of sustained peace, unity and independence,” he wrote.
While welcoming the important progress made to date by the GOL with support from UNMIL and other partners, Mr. Ban noted that challenges remain that will require additional assistance on all fronts in order to complete the transition by June 30, 2016.
“All stakeholders must sustain their focus on implementing the ambitious transition plan developed by the GOL and also on the national reconciliation and continuing political reforms that are essential for consolidating peace,” he stated.
By the resolution, the Council also decided that the mandate of UNMIL will be the protection of civilians; reform of justice and security institutions; human rights promotion and protection and; protection of UN personnel. It also decided that UNMIL shall put “renewed focus” on supporting the GOL to achieve a successful security transition.