Liberia UN to increase patrol in troubled border area

“The problem that is coming up regularly is that the leadership, whether it’s military or political, does not always get its message through to the local commanders and what I would identity as ‘local matadors,’ who do not realize that it is over,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Deputy Special Representative for Operations and Rule of Law, Souren Seraydarian, told a briefing yesterday in Monrovia, the Liberian capital. Mr. Seraydarian said the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) discussed the ceasefire violations in Nimba county at a meeting yesterday chaired by UNMIL’s Force Commander, Lt. Gen. Daniel Opande. “We had to make once and for all very clear that the violations of the Accra Peace Accord (which ended fighting between the government and rebels) will not be tolerated, that there is a need to put an end to all these violations,” Mr. Seraydarian said of the overall situation in the West African country. “All parties concerned – whether it was the old [Government of Liberia], LURD or MODEL (the rebel groups Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy and the Movement for Democracy in Liberia) – all of them are now participating in the Transitional Government and it is time that they get their act together in the interests of the people in Liberia,” he added. Referring specifically to Nimba country, Mr. Seraydarian noted that UNMIL’s military component would not be up to full strength until February but added: “We will be increasing the number of this type of patrolling by air and by surface, using our helicopters as well as the contingents. But we don’t have yet the capacity to stay continuously there.”