Country Reports on Terrorism 2007 - Liberia

Despite limited resources, inadequately trained personnel, and a weak judicial system – products of 14 years of civil war – the Government of Liberia demonstrated a willingness to cooperate with the United States and the international community to combat terrorism. Through rule of law and security sector reform assistance programs, the United States supported a number of initiatives that addressed Liberia's vulnerabilities, which included porous borders, rampant identification document fraud, lax immigration controls, wide-scale corruption, and underpaid law enforcement, security, and customs personnel.

There have never been any acts of transnational terrorism in Liberia. Of concern, however, were reports that hundreds of Middle Eastern businessmen purchased legitimately issued but fraudulently obtained Liberian diplomatic passports from Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) officials. These documents would permit free movement between the Middle East and West Africa. The government took steps to stop this Charles Taylor-era practice by requiring that diplomatic passports be issued only by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia. New restrictions on who qualified for Liberian diplomatic or official passports were being implemented by the new head of the Foreign Ministry's passport office.

Since 2003, there has been resurgence in the number of visits to Liberia by foreign Islamic proselytizing groups, overwhelmingly Sunni organizations from Pakistan, Egypt, and South Africa. However, Liberian security services reported that none of these groups publicly espoused militant or anti-American messages. Liberia's indigenous, war-weary, and predominantly Sunni Muslim community, which represented at least 20 percent of the country's population, has demonstrated no interest in militant strains of Islam to date. That said, outstanding land disputes negatively affecting large numbers of Muslim land owners in Nimba and other counties could fan ethnic and religious tensions with the predominantly Christian central government. As in other West African states, reports surfaced that Lebanese businessmen in Liberia provided financial support and engaged in fundraising activities for Hizballah. There were no other terrorist groups known to be operating within Liberia.


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