British Govt Alerts Citizens on Possible Terror Attack in Liberia
Monrovia – A recent terror alert from the British government urging its citizens to be vigilant in their travel to Liberia is raising concerns about security and possible rise of terror cells in the country.
Report by Rodney D. Sieh, [email protected]
The current alert posted on the official site of the British government warns: “Terrorist attacks in Liberia can’t be ruled out. As seen in Mali, Côte D’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, terrorist groups continue to mount attacks on beach resorts, hotels, cafés and restaurants visited by foreigners. You should be vigilant in these locations and avoid any crowded places and public gatherings or events. There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.”
The warning from the UK comes just three months after the Trump administration in the US hit six people and seven businesses linked to Hezbollah with terror sanctions, calling it “the first wave” in a pressure campaign that will escalate throughout the year. The sanctions aim to squeeze Hezbollah financier Adham Tabaja, who is already designated by the U.S. as a global terrorist, by freezing out a network of companies in Lebanon, Ghana, Liberia and elsewhere.
President Trump has called on Europe to designate all of Hezbollah, including its political arm, a terrorist organization. The GCC, Canadians, Dutch and the Arab League have done so, but the European Union and others have not.
Formed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in 1982 to fight Israel’s invasion of Beirut, Hezbollah has morphed into a powerful political player in Lebanon, and is a member of the Mediterranean nation’s coalition government. The U.S. considers Hezbollah a terrorist organization and has hit the group with sanctions before.
The U.S. has grown concerned about the group’s involvement in other conflicts, including in neighboring Syria, where it’s sent thousands of fighters to shore up Syrian President Bashar Assad. U.S. officials said Hezbollah is also helping train and advice Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen who are being pummeled by a Saudi-led coalition supported by the United States.
FrontPageAfrica recently managed to trace the terror cell to a Sierra Leonean-owned company with a branch at the Red Light as one of those linked to new sanctions on the terror group, Hezbollah, imposed by the Trump administration.
Since 2008, Liberia has been aiding the US in its war against terrorism.
The US, through its security sector reform assistance programs, has been supporting a number of initiatives that addressed Liberia’s vulnerabilities, which included porous borders, rampant
identification document fraud, lax immigration controls, wide-scale corruption, and underpaid law enforcement, security, and customs personnel.
In a 2008 terrorism report, the US State Department said while there have never been any acts of transnational terrorism in Liberia, there have been reports that hundreds of Middle Eastern businessmen purchased legitimately issued but fraudulently obtained Liberian diplomatic passports from Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) officials. “These documents would permit free movement between the Middle East and West Africa. The government took steps to stop this Charles Taylor-era practice by requiring that diplomatic passports be issued only by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia.”
The report added that since 2003, there has been a resurgence in the number of visits to Liberia by foreign Islamic proselytizing groups, overwhelmingly Sunni organizations from Pakistan, Egypt, and South
Africa. However, Liberian security services reported that none of these groups publicly espoused militant or anti-American messages.”
The US has been particularly concerned about the recent surge of terrorist activities in Africa. In East Africa, the Somalia-based terrorist group al-Shabaab remained the most potent threat to regional stability, having regained territory in parts of southern and central Somalia.
Al-Shabaab used safe havens and towns it reclaimed in 2016 to refine its asymmetric tactics. The group continued to focus on targeting AMISOM forces by launching large-scale raids against its forward operating bases.