In the face of attempted terrorist attack at Lungi Airport in neighboring Sierra Leone, Liberians are expressing fears of similar situation on their only international Airport, the Robert International Airport, also are calling on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to prevail on her local security authorities to do all in their powers in taken all necessary steps to abort any possible terrorist attacks on Liberia.
Liberians speaking on a local radio phone-in-call, said the departure of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) in the face of the reported terrorist attacks in Liberia’s neighboring countries, including Ivory Coast, Ghana and now Sierra Leone, it is important that the country’s security apparatus be strengthened in its bid to tackle such eventuality, like terrorist attacks.
Some of the callers also made reference of the mysterious appearance of a ship on the Liberian sea coast with the crew members’ whereabouts unknown, a situation they said has also created panic amongst Liberians; pondering over their fate in the face of reported terrorist attacks around the world.
Weeks after the reported appearance of this mysterious ship in Grand Cape County, Robertsport to be exact, another discovering of a foreign vessel at the port of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, all of these instances seems to bring fears to Liberians, wondering as to what is happening nowadays.
Few days ago, in neighboring Sierra Leone, a report of a major security breach at the Lungi international airport as a man attempted to board an Air France plane with petrol, a matchbox and a cigarette lighter on him, among other things.
The report online said, a three-and-a-half-hour-long closed circuit television (CCTV) footage shows he had spent over three hours on and around the tarmac, with a traveler’s bag, and he had even changed his shirt preparing to board the plane before he was spotted.
The incident, which happened on Saturday evening, saw the man without a valid passport, a flight ticket or a boarding pass; make his way right to the airport tarmac. He boarded the flight conveyor bus with checked-in Air France passengers.
One report says the bus arrived beside the plane where he was detected as passengers started boarding the plane, as he had no boarding pass.
Another source however says he was spotted on the bus shortly after he had boarded to be taken to the plane.
Police Local Unit Commander, Superintendent Abioseh Hyde told Politico that the man entered the airport tarmac through a gate usually reserved for the airport General Manager which he apparently found unlocked.
He had just finished performing the Muslim Zuhr (2 O’ Clock) prayer in the airport mosque.
The local police chief denies that the man, whose expired passport bears the name Ibrahim Kanu but his national ID card bears the name Blessing Kanu, also had a knife on him.
Kanu, 31, was arrested and handed over to the Sierra Leone Police stationed in Lungi who are investigating his possible motive. Supt Hyde says eight other people were arrested but that all but Kanu have been released on bail. Kanu has been transferred to Freetown. Those arrested and released are airport workers. The CCTV footage shows them lying close to Kanu beside the tarmac before the plane landed,until he boarded the bus.
There was panic at the airport when the incident happened, an airline official who spoke on condition of anonymity, said. The British security firm Westminster is in charge of security at the airport.
They are yet to make any public statement on the incident. The head of the company in Sierra Leone, John Dromond, could not give much when contacted by Politico. He, however, said that since the matter was under investigation, it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to comment on it. “Investigations are still going on. That’s how much I can say,” he concluded.