Violence Again?

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted June 17, 2004

Over the weekend, news from the Central Liberian provincial city of Gbarnga, said ethnic clashes have erupted between the Kpelle and Mandingo tribal groups in the area, resulting to the death of at least one person with several others wounded.

The reports said the situation in the area was so grave to the extent that normal business activities in the city were at a standstill, although latest reports suggest that relative calm has returned to the city. During the clashes, members of the two opposing groups reportedly burnt cars and houses while other properties worth several thousands Liberian dollars were also destroyed.

Although the exact cause or reason that prompted the violence in Gbarnga is yet to be obtained because of the volatility of the situation, the local authority in the area and the United Nations Mission in Liberia(UNMIL) in a bid to curb the grave development, have imposed a curfew from 8:00pm to 6:00am daily.

However, while going to press on Monday, it was gathered from UNMIL that the curfew which was imposed since last Saturday has brought about some calm in the city.

Obviously, we have been taken aback by the reports from Gbarnga relative to the ugly situation about tribal conflict in the area especially so at this crucial time of the Liberian peace process when all efforts are being made by the United Nations, ECOWAS and other international partners to restore lasting peace to this country after 14 years of civil conflict.

It is disheartening to note that after over a decade of violence and destruction, some Liberians still employ v
iolence as a means to resolving whatever differences. By now, the years of violence should have taught every Liberian the lesson that violence does not solve any problem, rather it worsens a situation beyond imagination.

Judging from the experiences of the past, it is necessary that whatsoever differences which exist among Liberians that is tribal groups, it is important to adopt an approach of dialogue to solving such problems rather than using violence as has been the recent case with the Mandingoes and the Kpelles in Gbarnga.

We call on the transitional government to investigate this matter and bring the instigators or those responsible for such an act to justice to avoid a reoccurrence. Violence should never be entertained in our country because it is cancerous.

In view of this, let us exercise restraints whenever we have differences and pursue a path of dialogue to reach at solutions in the best interest of the country. Indeed, violence does not solve any problem. Violence begets violence.

Therefore, we should always shun violence. Dialogue is the best way out.

© 2004: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.