Written by Bernard Gbayee Goah
President, Operation We Care for Liberia
Despite its natural resource, Liberia is one of the world’s most impoverished countries. Bad and weak governance, coupled with impunity, rampant corruption, and the unemployment of so many young former combatants, have made Liberia a volatile country, and breeding ground for radical extremist groups recruitment in the region.
According to Front Page Africa, the Director designate of the elite security guard, the Executive Protection Service (EPS) Mr. Frank Nyekan revealed that Liberia is being used as a hideout for leaders of Nigeria Islamic terrorist group Boko-Haram.
Director Mr. Nyekan mentioned, “Terrorism is spreading now. Nobody needs to tell you that Boko-Haram is next door in Nigeria. Some are using Liberia as a sleep-out where they come and sleep when they do their thing. They come as Nigerian businessmen to sleep after a period of time; they lost and returned to Nigeria. They commit the act, when they are being searched for, they run to Liberia”.
The combination of lack of trust in their own government as a result of bad governance, poverty, and insecurity are all contributing factors that may lead to young people engaging in violence activities. This may as well lead to former combatants offering themselves for extremist groups recruitment as a way to support their families.
Liberia’s historical trend of poor political and resource governance has made it a volatile nation. The country has seen a string of civil wars. History suggests that all of the above factors mentioned did not only contribute to the destruction of Liberia, but the destruction of neighboring countries such as Guinea, Ivory Coast, and Serra Leon.
Poverty, underdevelopment, and a sense of marginalization and exclusion of former combatants that comes from lack of governance, particularly at the national level, creates breeding ground for extremist groups recruitment.
The thing is, former combatants are what groups such, as Al Qaeda wants. And Liberian former combatants perfectly fit the picture. Liberia could become an incubator for terrorist activity if nothing is done to create employment opportunities for the country’s very large number of former combatants.