Liberia could return to war- CRS survey

Child soldiers were a prominent feature of the Liberian civil war. Photo: Patrick Robert/Sygma/Corbis

Half of all Liberians think their West African nation could plunge back into conflict more than a decade after civil war ended, due to widespread corruption and rows over land, an aid agency said on Thursday.

Systemic corruption in the public sector, disputes over landownership and high rates of youth unemployment were cited by Liberians as the three main factors that could incite violence in a survey carried out by the Catholic Relief Services (CRS).

“Liberians are telling the world that the causes of the long civil wars are still there and they have genuine fears of their country returning to violence,” Jennifer Overton, regional director for CRS in West Africa, said in a statement.

The country is still recovering from two brutal civil wars, which spanned 14 years before ending in 2003, and an Ebola outbreak which killed some 4,800 people between 2014 and 2016.

The survey was published as Liberia gears up for presidential elections in October to replace Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first elected female head of state, in what would be the first democratic transfer of power since the 1970s.

Political leaders were considered most likely to instigate renewed violence by 72% of respondents in the survey of more than 1,500 Liberians across the nation’s 15 counties.

Around 60% believed unemployed youths were most likely to spark violence. More than four in five of the respondents said they felt that victims of wartime violence did not receive justice through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was set up in 2005 to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“Both the Liberian government and the international community cannot afford to be complacent about peace in Liberia,” said Pilate Johnson, acting director for the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission in Liberia.

The UN peacekeeping mission that was sent to Liberia in2003 to restore order after the conflict withdrew last June, beginning a new phase of self-reliance for the country.


One Response to “Liberia could return to war- CRS survey”
  1. Daniel Fortune says:

    I personally believe that the possibility of war is most likely when the current administration try to regain control under its Vice President, because it will feel like there will be nothing new to hope for and the possibility of self made anger could erupt in the opposition block coupled with the economic crisis and failed market control system could well set a huge possibility of war…, remember that Africa doesn’t have the history to policy differences between the president and Vice President even when the vice successful success his boss, so there will be a great possibility of even a worse economic situation locally under Vice President Boikai and there will be no time to buy or ask for given that your boss started it and you served as second and when Liberians get frustrated there’s only one option which is War, and the terms of leadership ( 6 years and the possibility of second term, another 6 years ) is so scary to hope for short term solutions. I hope we don’t get that close but yes there’s a possibility.

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