Thursday, August 11, 2011

Large amont of arms and ammunition seized in Liberia.....

The Government of Liberia has seized a "worrisome" amount of arms and ammunition in the south of the country near the border with Ivory Coast, an official told a press conference Wednesday.

"The Bureau of Immigration with maximum support from the Ministry of Justice was successful in retrieving a cache of arms and ammunition through the cooperation of some ex-combatants," Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization commissioner Chris Massaquoi told journalists.

He did not give details about the former combatants who he said collaborated with state security authorities to find the weapons.

But he added: "This discovery of weapons is worrisome".

The weapons were found in the counties of River Gee, Maryland, Grand Gedeh and Nimba.

Some of the weapons were displayed during the press conference.

They included rockets, machine guns and assault rifles and a large amount of ammunition.

"The arms and ammunition were collected by Immigration Special Border Patrol Officers following intensive intelligence gathering in certain towns along the Liberian-Ivorian border," the immigration commissioner said.

He noted that the bureau in collaboration with other security officials would make sure that there were no internal and external security threats as the country is to hold general and presidential elections on October 11.

The Bureau of Immigration appealed to all Liberians, "especially those living near or around the borders of Liberia to report to national security the presence of any and all strange movements within or near the borders as well as the presence of arms and ammunition of all sorts, and any threat to national security".

Liberia charged 36 people in late June in connection with the discovery of a large arms cache near the border with Ivory Coast two weeks earlier.

The weapons stash included war weapons and ammunition, including Kalachnikovs and rocket launchers.

They were believed to have been sent to Liberia after a lengthy post-electoral crisis in neighbouring Ivory Coast which turned violent as former strongman Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept defeat in November polls to arch-rival Alassane Ouattara, who was sworn in as president in May.

Gbagbo was arrested on April 11 in Abidjan, after some 3,000 people died in the violence in which Liberian mercenaries were alleged to have taken part.

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