Guns For Immigration? Liberia to Arm Officers in Border Protection

Monrovia - The Special Security Advisor to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on International Affairs, Dr. H. Boimah Fahnbulleh, has disclosed that the National Security Council of Liberia has resolved to in arm officers of the Bureau of Immigration at the borders points of Liberia.

Dr. Fahnbulleh made the assertions over the weekend at Camp Biago in Sinje, Grand Cape Mount County during ceremony marking the second graduation of 250 officers of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization.

Dr. Fahnbulleh noted that government will provide arms to the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN) in order to help them discharge their full mandates in the wake of the United Nations Mission in Liberia UNMIL draw down.

The special advisor to the President also pointed out that in order to adequately respond to unfolding challenges in mending the country`s borders, immigration officers will receive not only combat training but will also be issued fire arms to contain hostile elements before security officers are deployed.

Dr. Fahnbulleh stressed that the BIN officers have a major undertaking but said with huge support from government and partners, BIN would effectively help them provide more security and protect Liberia's borders.

Dr. Fanhbulleh said the Liberians are aware of the movements of hostile people, the likes of Boko Haram, including militants in the Islamic Maghreb, Somaliland other groups reining terror in all the geographic spheres of Africa of which West Africa is of no exception.

The SSA’s comments come in the aftermath of the discovery of an oil tanker (Tamaya 1) which reportedly went aground on a beach near Robertsport in Grand Cape Mount County.

Discussing the challenges facing the security sector with special recognition to the BIN, Dr. Fahnbulleh said that the trainings are not much sufficient for the kind of security the country needs.

He therefore called on the government and other partners to improve the security sector by providing better education on fingerprints which would enable them trace terrorists provide libraries for accurate teaching sections, and that officers must remain at the training barrack for further trainings that will make them capable for future attacks against the likes of Boko-Haram.

“You will be confronted with hostile element who are dangerous and you will have people who are enemies and don’t come with the intention of the people but bring in destructions.

Be aware they are all over the world, in Nigeria they are Boko Haram, and in Somalia they are called Al-Shaba, terrorists.

They are coming into Africa and we asked ourselves as security whether those people are coming to train our citizens or make people pay for something they are reliable for or they are people who want to harm us.”

Dr. Fahnbulleh continued: “That is why we are seeking to provide arms to our officers because they are the first points of contact and therefore must be well trained,” he stated

The special security advisor to the President fell short of pointing out the circumstances surrounding the abandoned Tamaya 1 vessel, charged the newly commissioned immigration officers to be cognizant of the fact that these hostile people in most instances come under the disguise of religious teachers.

He intoned that as the country is preparing to handle its security in a wake of UNMIL’s drawdown, the government should be proactive in handling issues after UNMIL drawdown adding that with the provision of logistics, the country will be well equipped to deal with terror threats.

“The challenge is to ensure that the group you turn over to the next generation are prepared to take on the task to protect the country. You have major undertakings and you are charged to work diligently, rewards will come tomorrow.”

Dr. Fahnbulleh called for advance training for BIN officers as he encouraged graduates: “We say to our graduates, you have your colleagues in West Africa, your diplomats have done a very good job of building bridges with your neighboring countries, Sierra Leone, Guinea, La Côte d’Ivoire."

"Your officials will have to buildup on that friendship, and I would say, while we improve Foyah Training Academy, we have to put in there a language lab, officers of the Bureau of Immigration must be able to understand the language next door, in the case of Guinea, officers must be able to understand Mandingo and Fula to be able to discuss with people from that region, at the border of Sierra Leone, officers were must be able to understand Mande and Vai, the Ivorian border, they must be able to understand a little of Krahn so that they are not taken unaware by those who are entering our country,” he noted.

Dr. Fahnbulleh noted that there can be no development in any country without security. He said officers should be aware of terrorists and pirates as the major responsibility of officers is to save and protect the territory against dangerous people.

Dr. Fahnbulleh also reminded the officers to be vigilant at all points of entry  Commenting on reported harboring of criminals by the people of Grand Cape Mount County in the wake of the vessel that went aground, Dr. Fahnbulleh, who indicated that when he received calls from reputable people raising concerns said -  “The people of Grand Cape Mount County are far above religious bigotry evident by the fact the two senators (Cllr. Varney Sherman and Edward Dagoseh) currently representing the county are Christians.”

Edwin G. Genoway, Jr (213886458910);

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