NOW THAT GBAGBO IS OUT
After Months Of Chaos And Fighting, Liberia’s Neighbors Are Breathing A Sigh Of Relief. Now Liberia Must Take The Necessary Steps To Curb The Aftermath Of The Spillover Effect.
LIKE SADDAM HUSSEIN, Ivory Coast’s once strongman Laurent Gbagbo was captured in a bunker, where he spent his last days mouthing repeated declarations that he would not surrender.
IT ALL CAME to an end Monday when troops loyal to the declared winner of last year’s elections, Alhassan Outtara and French tanks and air power finally put Mr. Gbagbo out of his misery, ending a four-month standoff by pulling Gbagbo from his burning residence.
SEVERAL TELEVISION stations showed images of Gbagbo being led into a room in a white undershirt were broadcast on television as proof of his capture even as he refused to sign a statement formally ceding power after losing November's election.
DURING THE COURSE of the fighting, more than a million civilians fled their homes and untold numbers were killed over the course of the power struggle that threatened to re-ignite a civil war in the world's largest cocoa producer.
IN LIBERIA, the spill-over effect was becoming damning by the day as scores of refugees from Ivory Coast poured into Liberia from several border points.
THE THREAT to Liberia’s immediate security has been on the minds of many especially in the wake of the recent arrest of Timothy Mamadee Toure, a Liberian national, Mandingo by tribe and a former fighter of the defunct LURD rebel and employee of the PMS Gas Station in Buchannan City owned by one Andrew Musason.
TOURE ALLEGEDLY admitted that he was hired by one James Innis to recruit fighters to go to the Ivory Coast and fight.
ACCORDING TO documents in possession of FrontPageAfrica, Toure admitted that on November 15, 2010, Mr. Innis met him at the PMS Gas Station and gave him the amount of US$20.00 and asked him to change US$10.00 and take the balance $US10.00 for his scratch card, so that Toure can call him (Innis).
THE REVELATION comes amid a FrontPageAfrica tour of the area where our reporter interviewed several Liberians fighting alongside forces loyal to Outtara. Lieut. Col. Bad Child//Karmo Watson told our reporter that he fought for Outtara, leading a unit of 36 men. He said he burnt seventeen villages along the Ivorian border route of Toulepleu.
SAID WATSON: “The first village I attacked, I burnt six persons to aches in a house, because they lied to me and said I would get $1,500 when I was recruited. When I did not get any money, I went on the rampage and started burning villages, and killing people.”
THE CAPTURE of Gbagbo, who is most likely to be forced to answer for his soldiers' crimes, will no doubt bring much-needed relief to the West African sub-region but Liberia in particular has a lot to ponder about its own future.
MORE IMPORTANTLY, steps must be taken now to ensure that those fighters involved in the Ivorian crisis are not filtered into the Liberian society with their arms and ammunitions.
THE THREAT to Liberia’s security must be taken seriously and government and the United Nations Mission in Liberia must ensure that a clean sweep is carried out of the key border points between Liberia and the Ivory Coast.
IT WOULD BE SAD if we all sit idly by and allow the trends that led to the crisis in the Ivory Coast to take effect on Liberian soil. Too much is at stake and we cannot afford to allow the nightmare to be repeated. The fixing must begin now to avoid the spills of war and chaos from setting foot in Liberia again.