MONROVIA: The President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia has spoken exceedingly about the international peacekeeping exploits of the Liberian soldiers for being dedicated, exemplary and displaying excellent performances on their noble international mission just as he wholeheartedly welcome AFL troops who served meritously with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali(MINUSMA).
Speaking Thursday, December 21, 2023, at the AFL End of MINUSMA Mission Ceremony at the Barclay TrainingCenter (BTC), President George Manneh Weah described the Mali mission as a testament to the collective resolve of peace-loving nations around the world who, he also said, were willing to sacrifice material and human resources in order to put off the flames that engulfed Mali.
He called on Liberians to see reason to honor the brave and dedicated men and women of the AFL and all those endeavoring to keep the nation safe. He noted his highest aspiration that the AFL would continuously be committed to the responsibility of service to mankind while also ensuring international peace.
“I have no doubt, following your remarkable achievement in Mali – both at the level of the troops and as Military Staff Officers – that you are on the path to greatness in international peacekeeping,” the President said..
The Commander in Chief He told the AFL returning Peacekeeping forces that their resilience was not only tested in the fields of harsh arid climate but also by withstanding waves of infectious disease outbreaks during moments of Ebola and COVID-19 to which a single soldier did not succumb. He equally intimated that Liberians owe a debt of gratitude to the troops and all those who have participated and are still doing the same in peacekeeping operations.
The President acknowledged that the years they spent in the field signify that they have contributed to peace, attained knowledge and experiences, especially in counter-terrorism operations, interoperability with partners, discipline, and professionalism.
“You are now the beacon of hope, not only for Liberia, but the region and beyond,” he stressed. “Continue to be of service.”
He recalled the support of the Central Government to the AFL in meeting various logistical and operational requirements of the UN, such as Armored Personnel Carriers, assorted vehicles, and self-sustaining equipment to help the troops achieve their goals effectively.
President Weah disclosed that the government approved and provided an initial amount of $700,000.00 to the Ministry of National Defense to support the troops deployed in Peace Support Operations in the National Budget for Fiscal Year 2022.
He acknowledged that despite these interventions, there still remain some challenges for the troops in the field, expressing the hope that the incoming administration will take over that responsibility from where his government has stopped in order to prepare the AFL for more peacekeeping operations.
He paid special tribute to a fallen personnel, Sergeant Ousman Sheriff, and all others who were wounded in Mali.
The AFL Commander-In-Chief similarly hailed partners and allies, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Nigeria, for helping Liberia achieve this milestone.
It can be recalled that the New AFL was inducted into the Peace Support Operations on June 23, 2013, as part of the African-led International Support Mission to Mali.
It was later morphed into the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) on July 1, 2013, under UN Resolution 2100.
This was Liberia’s first peacekeeping operations following the end of the civil war and five decades after the country’s first involvement in UN Peacekeeping in the Congo.
President Weah disclosed that the AFL began its Mali operations with a platoon size, which grew in strength and capabilities over a period with additional deployments.
“For this, we must recognize the effort of our previous Commander-in -Chief, as well as the leadership of the AFL, past and present, for ensuring that our nation can contribute to the resolution of conflicts in our region,” he disclosed.
The occasion was graced by officials of government, AFL leadership, members of the diplomatic Corps, international partners, and friends and family members of the honorees.