A contingent of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) is expected to be deployed in Mali as part of the ongoing United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in that troubled West African State.
Accordingly, the AFL soldiers to be deployed have completed “pre-deployment training” at the Camp Sande Ware Barracks, in Careysburg, Lower Montserrado County, that has prepared them for any circumstance(s) they may encounter, while on the mission.
The training which was conducted by French and British trainers, focuses on imparting skills to personnel in order to enable them detect and defuse explosive ordinate disposal (EOD) and improvised explosive device (IED), which are commonly used by terrorist activities.
The new batch of AFL personnel will be replacing their returning fellow Peacekeepers who are expected to end their tour of duty in September, after a year of service on the mission.
At Wednesday’s ceremony, AFL Chief of Staff, Major/General Prince C. Johnson III, underscored the importance of the training for the soldiers who are to be deployed in Mali.
Maj/Gen. Johnson said the training has prepared the soldiers “mentally and physically” to withstand any challenge(s) that they may face during the mission.
He then expressed the AFL’s gratefulness for the high level training their French and British counterparts have provided them ahead of their deployment. They also lauded their respective governments for the support and expertise provided to the AFL.
Gen. Johnson said that the training gives the soldiers the experience in handling new technologies in any risky situation, while on the mission, adding, “It will help to build the morale of the soldiers ahead of their deployment.”
British Ambassador to Liberia, David Belgrove, also expressed satisfaction over the involvement of his government and the French government in helping soldiers of the AFL in their pre-deployment training.
Amb. Belgrove said that the joint cooperation was necessary for the mission.
French Chargé d’Affaires, Hugues Nagy, said he was impressed with the level of training the current batch of soldiers received.
“From the opinion of the trainers, the current batch AFL soldiers are one of the best home-trained units, so we have high expectations for them when they reach Mali,” he said.
The AFL currently has a company-size contingent in Mali. The deployment in September will be Liberia’s sixth rotation of peacekeepers in that troubled West African country.
Liberia joined the mission in 2013 and subsequently became a full peacekeeping nation in July 2019, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations and Liberia.