During a two-day visit to Zwedru the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), Ms. Ellen Margrethe Løj urged Paramount Chiefs and other local elders in the border towns of Grand Gedeh County to assist UNMIL in reporting any case that might pose a threat to the relevant security agencies.
In her interactions with the citizens of Grand Gedeh, Madame Løj called on them to ensure that people do not get involved in the Ivorian crisis. “We need peace established in Ivory Coast,” she said, but stressed that “to maintain the hard-won peace in Liberia is a primary concern for UNMIL.” Madam Løj added while speaking to people of Grand Gedeh, “We are looking forward to the pending elections and we urge all Liberians to focus on them.”
Anxiously awaiting her arrival in their county, Acting Superintendent, Josephus Garley and other local authorities met with SRSG Løj, who used her visit to the area to also interact with refugees at the Jarzon transit site, Ministry of Public Works compound.
Impressed with the way Liberians and the host communities have received Ivorian refugees, Madam Løj assured all that the UN was working hard to get refugee camps established in the county. However, she said it is important that the refugees come to these camps as it will be extremely difficult for the UN to visit all the towns and villages to deliver services, as the rainy season is approaching.
The SRSG informed local authorities and refugees that UNMIL has redeployed troops to work closely with the Liberian security agencies and attending to the border with Ivory Coast. “It is crucial that weapons are not transported into Liberia,” Madam Løj said while calling for their cooperation. “If [you] observe, hear or see anything that risk jeopardizing the peace in Liberia, tell the security forces or UNMIL and we will deal with it; we cannot be all along the borders, but we need your cooperation to show that we want to maintain the hard-won peace in Liberia" Madam Løj said to the people of Grand Gedeh.
Before leaving the county, the SRSG assured the refugees and the host communities of the UN’s commitment to assist them, and said she has heard their concerns and that she was going to share them with other partners.