AFL Rotates Troops in Mali

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If all goes well in line with plans by authorities at the Ministry of National Defense by collaborating with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the platoon-size unit of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) stationed in Mali will be rotated by another batch of soldiers in a week’s time.

Defense Minister Brownie J. Samukai, Jr., made the disclosure Tuesday, June 17, at the Ministry’s Barclay Training Center (BTC) offices on UN Drive when visiting Bangladeshi six-man senior military personnel headed by Lieutenant/General Md Mainul Islam, paid a courtesy call on him.

Lt/Gen Islam is the Chief of General Defense Staff at the Bangladeshi Army Headquarters, General Staff Branch—Dhaka Cantonment.

He visited the Ministry of Defense while on his way to La Côte d’Ivoire to inspect and visit his country’s troop on peacekeeping mission in that country.

Like the AFL, Bangladesh has battalion-size soldiers also stationed in northern Mali serving with AFRISMA.

Other members of Lt/Gen Islam’s delegation that accompanied him to the MOD included Colonel Mahmood Houssain, Force Chief of Engineer, Colonel Md Omar Farugue, Lt/Col Md Asadul Islam, Engineers, Lt/C Mahammad Khaled Kamal, and Major Muntasir Mamu, Engineers.

Earlier, Minister Samukai and Lt/Gen Islam discussed issues that would be of mutual benefit to the AFL, particularly in the areas of training—with emphasis in peacekeeping and road maintenance.

Lt/Gen Islam then assured Minister Samukai of his country’s willingness to assist Liberia in building the capacity of the army where soldiers from the Bangladeshi Military Engineering Division will come to construct a medical factory under the auspices of the AFL Command as well as other projects.

The Bangladeshi delegation then presented several pieces of gift items to Minister Samukai and his office staff as tokens of Bangladeshi’s appreciation for the ‘invaluable services’ to the men and women in the Liberian army.  

Peace Mission

For the first time in the history of the AFL, it was just last year when their platoon-size unit was deployed in the troubled West African State of Mali and formed part of the Africa International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA).

The soldiers (all infantry) departed Liberia on June 20 last year and joined AFISMA.

They are embedded into the Nigerian battalion with First Lieutenant Nathaniel Waka serving as Commander of the platoon-size unit.

The exercise, which is the first time that Liberia is participating in 52 years, was honored a forth night ago when they participated in a UN Medal Parade.

In 1961, Liberia provided troops to the United Nations Organization in the Congo, a UN peacekeeping force established under UN Security Council Resolution 143 of July 14, 1960, to respond to the Congo crisis.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) organized a military mission, AFISMA, to support the Government of Mali against Islamist rebels in the north. The mission was organized under UN Security Council Resolution 2085, adopted on December 20, 2012, authorizing the deployment of an African-led International Support Mission in Mali for an initial period of one year.

It is now being extended for another year, thus making it important for the troop to rotate.

The intention of the Mission is to help the Malian authorities to implement the transitional roadmap towards the full restoration of constitutional order, democratic governance and national unity.

The Bangladeshi Army

The army in 1988 was divided into six strategically located divisions. The location of these divisions’ headquarters, five of which were formerly brigade headquarters, underscored the army’s primary mission of internal security rather than defense against external threats.

As of 2009, it was reported that the Army consisted of 12 divisions. They were then deployed to support the Army’s primary internal security mission, of which the country designed robust action of peacekeeping—exercise that the Bangladesh Army has earned a reputation around the world.

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