The second platoon of soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) that departed the country for a peacekeeping mission in Mali on June 26 last year will return to the country today, June 25.
The peacekeepers’ return does not end the AFL mission in Mali, but brings to an end a year of peacekeeping duties for the second platoon. They are the second postwar peacekeepers who have served in international peacekeeping duties with distinction, military sources said in Mali.
The soldiers are being hailed for a “job well done.” For that, the office of the Chief of Staff (COS), B/G Daniel Dee Ziankahn in collaboration with the Ministry of Defense wants Liberians to know that the soldiers have flown the Liberian Flag very high on the international scene.
Since its deployment to Mali, the platoon has over the last 12 months conducted several missions in and out of its area of operations. These missions included escort, vehicle and foot patrols, reconnaissance and other special assignments.
In line with the administrative mandate towards personnel serving in peacekeeping duties, the UN through its Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) scheduled a Medal Day Parade in honor of the Liberian Platoon on June 19.
The Liberian contingent consists of an infantry platoon assigned to MINUSMA Headquarters in Bamako and Timbuktu where they received UN Medals. B/G Ziankahn, B/G Sidiki Daniel Traore, Sector West Commander, MINUSMA, Lofa County Senator Stephen J. H. Zargo, chairman on Defense Intelligence and Security, Rep. Lester Paye, Co-chair at the Lower House and David K. Dahn, Assistant Defense Minister for Public Affairs, decorated the AFL personnel.
This is the second batch of AFL personnel to receive UN Medals since the restructuring of the AFL in 2006.
On June 23, 2013, the government dispatched a platoon of AFL troops to form part of the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA)- an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) organized military mission to support the Government of Mali against Islamist rebels in the North of the country.
Meanwhile, a new infantry platoon, headed by Capt. Stephen T. Powo, will depart Liberia for Mali.
The outgoing platoon has already completed three months of pre-deployment training at the Armed Forces Training Command in Careysburg.
The pre-deployment training covered all tasks expected to be conducted during the tour in Mali. It covered medical screening and physical training, which also covered Geo-Politics of Mali, International Humanitarian Law, Introduction to Patrol, and Individual Soldier Task. Map Reading/Land Navigation, First Aid, Road block, Cordon and Search, Ambush, VIP Escort, Control of IDPs, Urban Operations, Desert Warfare, Battle Drills, Offensive Operations, and Combat/Operational Stress Control were also part of the training.
The farewell ceremony for the outgoing troops at RIA is expected to begin at 9:30 a.m. while departure for soldiers is at 10:30a.m.
The incoming troops are expected to arrive at RIA at 3:00 p.m.
Meanwhile, The AFL is conducting a Field Training Exercise (FTE) named Exercise Watch over IV in the general areas of Firestone and RIA from June 23-27.
The exercise is an Internal Security Operations Joint Training Exercise designed for the AFL and other sisterly security agencies such as Liberia National Police (LNP), Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN), National Fire Service (NFS) and the Drugs Enforcement Agency (DEA).