Many Liberians fear country could plunge back into war - Charity survey discovered
CIRCLE PINES, January 8 (Wish Info Network) – A good number of Liberians have expressed sentiments, that Liberia could once more revert to war due to widespread corruption and rows over land, one aid agency said.
The issue of systemic corruption with the public sector, land ownership disputes coupled with rate of youth unemployment, were some of the issues some Liberians believe could provoke another round of violence, according to a survey undertaken by the Catholic Relief Services (CRS).
In a recent statement put out by Jennifer Overton, CRS’ Regional Director in West Africa, “many Liberians are once more expressing deep fears, that the conditions that precipitated the Liberian Civil War years ago, are still there.”
Liberia has yet to fully recover from the series of brutal wars, which lasted over 14 years and ending in 2003, and coupled with the recent Ebola epidemic that ended the lives of some 4,800 Liberians.
The CRS survey was published at a time Liberians are once more gearing up for presidential elections in October to replace Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa's first elected female head of state, in what would be the first democratic transfer of power since the 1970s.
The survey also found that politicians were most likely to instigate renewed violence, by 72 percent of respondents in the survey of more than 1,500 Liberians across the nation's 15 counties.
On the other hand, 60 percent of survey respondents believed, that unemployed youths were most likely to spark violence.
According to the same, 90 percent (four in five) of all respondents said that victims of wartime violence did not receive justice through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was set up in 2005 to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity.
To this regards, the Acting Director of the Catholic Justice and peace Commission in Liberia, Pilate Johnson is cautioning the Liberian government and international community against complacency about peace in Liberia.
The U.N. peacekeeping mission that was sent to Liberia in 2003 to restore order after the conflict significantly drew down last June to less than 350 from 15,000. This leaves Liberia in a new phase of self-reliance for the country, reported Thomson Reuters Foundation.
It should be noted that in neighboring Ivory Coast, new waves of unrest are reported within the ranks of the military over a number of grievances, by largely former rebel fighters, now integrated into the army over back pay. It remains unclear whether the mutinous soldiers would honor the agreement put out by President Alassane Ouattara.