Security Details: Ellen, Bodyguards Divided Over ‘Not Too Favorable’ Liberia


07/22/2010 – MOSES VARFEE KOWO

Source: FrontPage Africa

Monrovia –

Controversy has ensued over what will be the security situation during the celebration of the country 163rd anniversary in Liberia’s second most popular county, Nimba with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf apologizing on behalf of her security Detail for recent statements issued pertaining security in the country written to lawmakers and the security during the celebration of the country’s 163rd independence anniversary.

The President in a letter to both Houses of the Legislature said the remarks amounted to overstatement and were also coming from what she calls a young professional trying to show his strength in the exercise of his duties.

SHOWING THEIR STRENGTH: President Sirleaf, in a letter to both Houses of the Legislature said the remarks amounted to overstatement and were also coming from what she calls a young professional trying to show his strength in the exercise of his duties.

The Special Security Service in a letter to the Legislature said the security of the country was not too favorable and warned that it will introduce what the body described as straight jacket security measure intended to protect the president and the first family. The SSS also warned other VIPs to stay about 100 yard away from the presidential motorcade during various movements on and before day of the celebration.

The SSS then requested that members of the Legislature will now have to submit the names of their guests who might like to attend the program in Sanniquellie for photographing as according to the group no individual will be allowed to attend the program without the SSS card that will be issued.

But the President in a rival letter to the Legislature said she has advised the Director of the Special Security Service that any correspondence to the leadership of the Legislature should cleared or signed by her.

The President in the second paragraph of her July 19, 2010 letter said: “I have advised the Director that in future any correspondence to the leadership of the Legislature should be cleared with or signed by me. Moreover, I have told him that his statement relating to the security of the nation was an overstatement, which could be misunderstood in its intent which related solely to ensuring the safety of the President as the convoy travels from place to place during events relating to the Independence Day Celebrations.”

The President continued her letter to the Legislature by saying: “I extend to you and your Honorable Members an apology on behalf of the young professional who was trying to demonstrate his planning efficiency.”

The letter of the Liberian Leader received a form of approval in both the Senate and House of Representatives with lawmakers giving applause to the response of the President on the subject.

Though the letter seem to have received the approval of most members of both Houses, but the President failed to answer some issues raised by the SSS whether the same security rudiments will still be implemented on the day of the program or whether lawmakers can now go to the program freely, an aspect that was the main bone of contention for members of the Legislature.

House Committee Chairman on National Security, Margibi County Representative Saah Gbollie promised to conduct investigation on what the SSS Boss meant when he said Security is not too favorable.

There were also reports in the Legislature that members of that body were planning a boycott of the Independence Day celebration following the threat of security concerns by the President chief security and more to that constrains placed on lawmakers to produce to living body of their guests to the SSS before they can be allow to attend the program in Sanniquellie, Nimba County.

The current controversial Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives had problems with members of the Special Security Service after he reported that SSS officers try to stop his official vehicle from entering the premises of the program in Gbarnga, his home county.

The letter by the Special Security Service also raised concerns in some quarters that government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is still having problems with security in Nimba County where most of the country’s military guerilla leaders came from during the civil 15 years old civil conflict.

Currently, the two senators (Prince Johnson and Adolphus Dolo) from the County were feared rebel commanders during the civil conflict and Mr. Taylor now standing trial in The Hague for crimes committed in Sierra Leone drew most of his followings from that part of the country and Nimba County witnessed the first bullet to be fired on the Liberian soil to start the civil conflict in 1989, December 24.

Observers say the president letter appears more to be attempting to calm the tension among members of the Legislature on the situation but at the same implementing the mandate of the Special Security Service.

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