-As Terror Panic Grips Monrovia
Fears of an eventual terrorist attack gripped most of Monrovia last week, despite the absence of President George Manneh Weah and top officials of his administration from the capital city to the port city of Buchanan, Grand Bassa county to attend the regime’s first cabinet retreat from May 17 to May 18, 2018.
According to our source, it all started when rumor went around Monrovia that the British and the American governments’ have ordered their citizens to avoid crowded areas in Liberia for fear of possible terrorist threats.
It is yet to be established whether in fact such an instruction have been given the foreign nationals concerned, although to the surprise of many residents as early as 9:30 PM Police in the city mounting check points and checking vehicles for possible arms and ammunition.A resident of New Georgia who travelled on the Somalia Drive narrated that when he boarded a commercial car at the Broad and Johnson streets Red-light intersection, he and other passengers in the vehicle that he was traveling in were asked to come down the car at the beginning of the Gabriel Tucker bridge for a thorough check of the car for possible hidden arms before they asked to re-board the car.
In another instance, worshippers at the Benson Street Mosque on Friday evening faced the inconvenience of security personnel over them while doing their first Ramadan Friday evening prayers before breaking fast while heavy Police presence blocked traffic in several parts of the city.
In some Ataya-base areas the gossip around was that terrorist groups were about to enter Monrovia in view of President Weah’s reluctance to visit the United States, Liberia’s traditional ally since coming to power over 100 days ago.
This concern is however rubbished by other residents who argue that Liberia is not the only country that has delayed visiting the United States since President Donald Trump made an obnoxious remark against African governments, considered as an insult.
The remark had triggered widespread to from several African Union members, to the point that only the Nigerian President has been invited by President Trump to Washington for bilateral talks over the threats of ‘Bokoharam’ terrorist rebellion against the Nigerian government.
The general position of several African leaders is that the American President should retract his statement. In view of the statement only Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has made an official visit to President Trump in Washington DC, to discuss bilateral issues including the ‘Bokuharam’ terrorist war against Nigeria.
The point that should also not be overlooked is that in today’s global political landscape, successive American governments have much more been concerned with the strategic interests of America especially in the war against terrorist groups such as ‘Alshaba’ in Somalia as well as Sahelian rebels posing security threats in Mali, Niger Mauritania and Burkina Faso.
Since coming to power, President Trump has demonstrated renewed American interest in the security of Israel as opposed to Arab countries in the Middle East including Iran.
The US President has gone as far as taking his country from the Iran nuclear deal signed between Iran and several other countries, in which sanctions against Iran for nuclear enrichment were to be lifted in exchange for Iran renouncing developing nuclear weapon.
The truth about a possible terror attack on Monrovia appears debatable as on several occasions the Liberian President has reiterated his commitment and value for the long-standing historic relationship between Liberia and the Unite Washington DC is yet to be made.
This is because, Liberia does not appear to be threat to terrorist groups operating in the region, and there is no longer a reason to believe that Liberians who were members of ex-President Charles Taylor’s government can be considered a threat to regional stability, the George Weah administration or to the United States government.
In security matters however nothing should be taken for granted. Western interests in Liberia could be a possible target in view of the enormous pressure mounted by America, France and other western governments to neutralize terrorist groups in the African region.
As an evidence of this, sometimes ago some French tourists were rounded up and killed in a beach hotel outside Abidjan, the capital as a reprisal for French government support to the war against terrorism in Mali, Niger, Mauritania among other frontline countries.
The thorough security checking in Monrovia should therefore be considered necessary in view of the large American interests in Liberia that may be vulnerable to terrorist attacks.(By John L. Momoh).