By Kadiatu Musa-Frantz
The illegal entry into Liberia by people from jihadist infested regions in Africa is gaining a foothold in Liberia and this could see President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf leaving NOTORIOUS jihadist group Boko Haram’s calamities on the Liberian people as her primary legacy when her term of office ends in 2017. The facts are that Liberia is a peaceful nation of Liberian Christians and Muslims, with Christians being in the vast majority. Yet both Liberian Christians and Muslims have no religious conflict as is experienced in other parts of the world. In fact, there are significant intermarriages and friendship between Liberian adherents of the Christian faith and those of the Muslim religion throughout the country. I am a product of a Liberian Muslim father from Lofa County and a Liberian Christian (Methodist) mother from Nimba County. This qualifies me, to some extent, to address this matter the way I do herein.
However, the good relations between Liberian Christiana and Muslims might change and very soon because there are new players in the equation and they are non-Liberians. With Boko Haram on the rise and the ugly intent of radical global jihadists who are not real Muslims but instead are a group of backward–minded criminals who use the a good image of the Islamic religion to commit heinous crimes and are bent on penetrating all of Africa, there is need for serious concern from all Liberians. The illegal settlement of unidentified Burkinabes and others, who could be jihadists in the forest of Liberia near the Ivory Coast’s border, is worrisome. I understand that there are some Muslim Liberians who want to have political advantage by having more Muslims in Liberia and so they may be anxious and willing to have these people who are migrants from Muslim nations in Liberia. Equally, there are some confused Liberian Christian politicians who inflame religious politics as a way of boosting their political support. All these are wrong ideas. The point before us is Liberia could be at risk if we allow President Sirleaf and President Ouattara to bring Burkinabes and their unidentified accomplices to claim our land. Thus, creating a similar situation in Liberia like that in Mali, Nigeria and Niger. Obviously, we don't want that and those overlook this will be doing so at the peril of Liberia. When we accept these people it will dilute and harm the coexistence of Liberian Christians and Muslims because they are coming with their extremism and radical ideologies that prevent women's rights, denies education to girls and force them into early marriage and forced covering of hair, and much more.
The conspicuous silence and negligible indifference of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf with respect to this very serious and long-term security threat is alarming and callous. Although it is perfectly understandable that the President has being diplomatically engaged with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and few oil-rich Arab nations over the course of her presidency, her inability to subject Liberia to the vulnerability of future security threats is just unacceptable. Over the period of the active engagement with the Arab nations, there have been financial rewards for ‘Liberia’ in return, whether those returns benefited Liberia or the President’s special envoy in the person of Robert A. Sirleaf at the time, remains a whole different issue. But this is not our primary concern.
Our primary concern has to do with why are these Burkinabe citizens and their unidentifiable accomplices entering Liberia to settle on our land illegally? More so, they are involved in farming and illegally squatting on and claiming large areas of farmland that does not belong to them. Why is the Ivorian government of President Allasane Ouattara allowing these people to use his country as the transit route to seize Liberian land? Are these Burkinabe citizens and their unidentified accomplices allegedly supported by a Saudi Arabia financial organization that urges them to come to Liberia and grab farmland for farming purposes with the long term intent of possessing the land and thereby claiming citizenship in the future so as to influence the political and social culture of Liberia in ways that fit within the Saudi’s global paradigm of chaos?
From the look of things this strategic settlement seems to be a part of a grand plan to which President Sirleaf may have some knowledge because sometimes back a research report was issued by three Middle Eastern women researchers who accused the Saudis of being behind an ill-feted attempt to influence the leadership lethargic of most West African countries and Liberia was mentioned as critical. Bringing these radicals from Burkina Faso and elsewhere, where terrorists have started attacking buildings and vehicles in recent period and whose real identities our security system remain unaware of puts Liberia’s future at more risk than ever before. Our concern has to go beyond being a Christian or Muslim to just being a Liberian citizen. We must act and stop this trend because our government wouldn’t. We must act because these intruders could infuse religious tension and lasting conflicts between Liberian Christians and Muslims once they begin any radical jihadist activity that is un-Islamic and Un-Christian. Many of these self-professed and pretentious ‘farmers’ on large portions of Liberian forestland could be members or an offshoot of Boko Haram terrorists’ groups that are now active in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon etc. Or they could be coming from the many Islamic terrorist groups that are active in Mali and other parts of Africa. These people could be aiming for Liberia because of our country’s traditional ties to the United States.
Furthermore, highly placed intelligence sources or gossips in Europe maintain that some of the mercenaries’ fighters that the late Muammar Khaddafi got from Burkina Faso to fight off his disposition from power fled Libya after the Colonel was captured and killed. Now that they cannot return to their native country where active civil society group despised them, they are entering Liberia to make the country their home and President Ouattara of the Ivory have every reason to aid their transit into Liberia because of his kinship with them. President Ouattara and former Burkinabe Faso’s deposed President Blaise Campaore (currently living in the Abidjan) are believed to know about the presence of these illegal gangsters in Liberia. After, it was Campaore who sent these terror fighters to Libya to fight for Khaddafi few years ago.
It is hard to doubt whether President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf does not know about the presence of these people in rural Liberia. She is a closed associate of both Ouattara and Campaore and in fact, she once did consultant contract for Campaore’s government. That is how deep their connections are. One might wonder as to why I am sounding this alarm now. I am doing so because we as Liberians want a peace country where coexistence comes first. Secondly, as a proud daughter of a Muslim father, I do not want radical jihadist extremists to endanger the historical cohabitation of my father’s Muslim people with that of my mother’s Christian family. Living in Europe has also taught me a lesson that being silence as a Muslim to allow a few bad people to undermine the goodness in a majority good people hurts. Because good Muslims in Europe are quiet and slow to pointing out the wrong carried out by the bad ones in their midst we are all painted with the same brunch as ‘terrorists’ which is not so.
Lest we forget, there is no reason why any Liberian should trust the current President of the Ivory Coast when it comes to security and peace in Liberia. By the way, President Ouattara was the prime minister of the Ivory Coast in 1989 when the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and others supported a Burkinabe-entrenched National Patriotic Front of Liberia’s (NPFL) rebels led by warlord Charles Taylor to attack and destroy Liberia, killing Christians and Muslims. Then the President famously remarked on BBC to Charles Taylor: “Level Monrovia Flat and we will rebuild it”. Monrovia is yet to be rebuilt after 10 years of her presidency. Besides, why makes President Sirleaf thinks President Ouattara is incapable of aiding any group that would want to permanent change the harmony of Liberia for good. President Ouattara would not mind if terrorists from Burkina Faso were to enter Liberia again because he condoned that for the first time when the NPFL rebels invaded Liberia from the Ivory Coast while he was that country’s prime minister. Since president Sirleaf does not care about Liberia’s future, we Liberians must care about our country’s future and drive these unidentifiable illegals out.
Vice President Joseph N. Boakai
The sad part about Liberia is the weakness of Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai in all this. Why lawmakers at the Capital Building in Monrovia are sounding the alarm about this major security issue our Vice President who wants to be president of Liberia after President Sirleaf is very mute. This is one reason why I wrote in my last article 'Why Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai should not run for President in 2017? that he should not run for president because he is unfit. Sadly, Mr. Gayah Fahnbulleh ‘wrote’ or say put his name to a rebuttal Rebuttal to Kadiatu Musu Frantz countering my piece without knowing what was contained in the rebuttal. With all due respect, I couldn’t respond to the Mr. Gayah Fahnbulleh's purported rebuttal because first and foremost it was not written by Mr. Gayah Fahnbulleh himself. Secondly, Mr. Gayah Fahnbulleh is not respected in the intellectual and political arena of President Sirleaf and Vice President Boakai that is why he was left in the cold by the administration after recruiting both Sirleaf and Boakai to the Unity Party in 2005 as running mates. According to my sources in Liberia, it was so strange for Mr. Gayah Fahnbulleh, who has bad mouthed President Sirleaf over and again, to write a rebuttal defending the President and Vice President. Pure hypocrisy on his part to allow his name to be placed on an article that he did not write nor understand.
Lastly, I ask that all Liberian citizens, Christians and Muslims without politicking, take the illegal presence of the Burkinabes and their alleged accomplices seriously. These people could be Boko Haram and other types of radical terrorists just waiting to begin carrying out their backward ideologies.