Liberia: UN mission expands number and sphere of influence of national police

Liberia: UN mission expands number and sphere of influence of national police

Further strengthening Liberia’s national police, the top United Nations envoy in the country has handed over a newly reconstructed police station in Nimba County, a border region some 240 kilometres northeast of the capital Monrovia that saw much of the fighting and unrest during 14 years of civil war.

“We can not allow violence to come back to this community, otherwise everything that we have worked for will be at risk,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative Alan Doss said at the ceremony in Ganta, near the frontier with Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea.

Rehabilitation work was financed by the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) through its Quick Impact Projects as part of the mission’s overall efforts to support the Government in re-establishing the rule of law across the country.

Mr. Doss stressed the crucial role of the police in ensuring that the Liberian National Police (LNP) remains safe and secure for the future. “We’ve trained over 2,000 police officers and we hope that, by this time next year, we will have 3,500 trained LNP officers deployed throughout the country,” Mr. Doss said.

He promised that more police stations would be built or rehabilitated in the coming months. Already several prisons, magistrate courts and police stations have been renovated by UNMIL.

He appealed to the people of the area to work closely with UNMIL in securing Liberia’s hard won peace. “We need you to work with our police and military forces,” he said, stressing that the citizens of Nimba County must help UNMIL protect Liberia from any cross border trafficking of arms or recruitment of mercenaries.

UNMIL, established by the Security Council three years ago to support the peace process after a ceasefire between the warring factions, played a multifaceted role in overseeing Liberia’s transition from the ravages of a disastrous civil war, culminating in the democratic election of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf less than a year ago.