Liberia: Airport Management Threatens To Shoot Thieves Then Clarifies And Apologizes

LAA Shoot Order
LAA Shoot Order
LAA Clarification
LAA Clarification



The new administration in Liberia has been criticized for its latest mis-step- “an authorization to the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) to shoot at sight, anyone who attempts to steal any of the navigation equipment, within the aerodome or on the airside of the Roberts International Aiport(RIA).”

Liberia Airport Authority

Under the signature of the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA), the agency of the Liberian Government which is responsible for the supervision and management of all airports and their facilities except Air Traffic Control, Fire and Rescue, Security and Meterology, a public notice issued Tuesday said the agency, in collaboration with the country’s military, was adopting additional security measures to secure the premises of the country’s international airport from unlawful interferences.

The surprising and draconian decision by the Liberian government agency, considered as extra-judicial and having the propensity to draw the military into the potential killing of citizens for alleged theft said that there would be, “stringent patrols by armed men of the AFL at every entry point of the aerodome or airside of the RIA.”

Apparently, there is ongoing theft of airport navigational equipment by unknown individuals.

Security forces in Liberia in the past have been accused of gross human rights abuse and killing of citizens. A new professional national army was trained and stood up with assistance from international partners including the United States and the United Nations, following back to back wars in the 90s in the West African country.

Liberian activists and ordinary citizens took to social media and local call in talk shows to heavily criticize the decision of the country’s airport authority to issue an order to “shoot on sight” would be thieves who would unlawfully enter the premises of the international airport.. Some social media posters described the order as a repeat of past ses and called for it to be rescinded immediately.

Roberts International Airport

The Liberian Defense Ministry quickly issued a statement distancing itself from the statement of the LAA, saying, ” …The AFL only take marching order from the AFL Command.”

In less than a day, the LAA clarified its earlier pronouncement saying, “the new security measures at the Roberts International Airport is actually not intended to harm or kill anyone as it has been misconstrued.”

In its attempt to clarify its position, the LAA Management , in a press statement issued late on Wednesday, said, ” These new security meansures as contained in the Announcement are only intended to deter interferences with the aerodome which sometimes lead to thefts of valuable navigational equipment…”

The LAA said, ” Anyone found trespassing within the Security Restricted Areas of the Airport will be arrested and dealt with in keeping with the Laws of Liberia…” and apologized for any embarrassment caused.

Political Map of Liberia
Political Map of Liberia

Some Liberians are calling for the dismisal of the Management of the airport authority; calling the initial statement to “shoot and kill’ reckless.

There has been no reaction from the Executive Mansion on the firestorm of the latest mis-step.

By Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal Magazine


Published by

West African Journal Magazine

The West African Journal was a major magazine publication in the United States with a focus on the Mano River region and West Africa sub-region during the civil crises in Liberia and neighboring countries during the decades of the 1990s. This was the period when many citizens and others in the sub-region were fleeing their homeland due to conflicts, and the magazine was a reliable source of information covering developments in the region and in the Diaspora.  However, the magazine suspended publication several years ago but is now back. It is, therefore, delightful that The West African Journal has been reactivated. The print edition of the magazine, to be published monthly and distributed in the United States, West Africa, and other parts of the world, will provide analysis of the major events of the period under review. Due to challenges relating to availability of reading materials in the sub-region, a few hundred copies of every edition of the magazine will be distributed free of charge to libraries and reading rooms at schools and institutions of higher learning in the sub-West Africa sub-region. The Journal covers government/politics, economics/international trade/investment and partnerships, women's issues, showcase of tourism and historic attractions in West Africa in particular, and Africa in general, as well as cover the Diaspora, entrepreneurship, among others. The Journal also taps into growing interest in the Unites States regarding resource-rich Africa as the next frontier for global economic progress amid an increasing global competition for access to the continent’s abundant natural resources. The magazine will regularly cover bilateral and multilateral partnerships between the US/multinational agencies and Africa/individual African countries. More importantly, in considering the danger of Climate Change and Global Warming, The Journal serves as a strong and unrelenting advocate to create international awareness regarding Climate Change, especially how West African countries and the African Continent as a whole are being negatively impacted. Through its environmental coverage, The Journal promotes education and awareness for people to be empowered. Our experienced team of editors, reporters and feature writers are excited to bring the stories that impact politics, finance, economy, arts, health, education, climate change, women and youth issues in Africa today. Contact The West African Journal is registered and published in Washington, D.C., U.S.A. Plans are underway to open a bureau office in Liberia, from which operations in other West African countries will be coordinated. Our journalists, who bring decades of high engagement of news and reportage, include former BBC veteran correspondent Isaac D.E. Bantu, former Daily Observer Features Editor and publisher of the West African Journal Joe S. Kappia, and Pana Press Editor Tepitapia K. Sannah, and respected Photo journalist and editor Gregory Stemn. These experienced and internationally-respected journalists ensure a high standard of professional journalism. Information and inquiries for The West African Journal should be directed to the following: Editor-in-Chief; Email: Isaac D.E. Bantu: Publishing Partner; Email: Mailing Address: P.O. Box 55053, Washington, D.C. 20040-5053 USA Thank you. Managing Editor