Defense Ministry Refutes ‘Incomplete Training’ Allegation

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The Ministry of National Defense (MOD) has refuted a report in a local newspaper alleging that soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) have not been properly trained. The “Incomplete Training” allegation in the lead story in one of the local dailies in Monrovia suggests that the report had been leaked from an unauthorized source in the Senate.

In a release signed by the Assistant Defense Minster for Public Affairs, David K. Dahn, and distributed yesterday to all media houses in Monrovia including the one that published the article, MOD strongly refuted the claim.

The report which the newspaper classed as ‘leaked’ from the Liberian Senate, asserts that Liberia’s security forces received “incomplete training” from “inexperienced trainers” hired to reform the country’s police and military. Thus the (quality) of the training is to blame for the unfolding scale of poor judgment and brutality being meted out to civilians by security forces.

The newspaper article quotes Senator Stephen J.H. Zargo, who chairs the Senate Committee on Defense and Intelligence as saying, that discipline and courtesy were forbidden to be taught to the security forces including the military.

However, in its reaction, the MOD said it firmly disagrees with the characterization of the defense sector as receiving ‘incomplete training from inexperienced trainers’ and considers the assertion a “diplomatic ambiguity” from the “leaked report” that discipline and courtesy were never taught to the Liberian military as quoted by the paper.

MOD made it clear that contrary to the published ‘leaked report, the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), from Class 01-12, received a “world class complete training, inclusive of discipline and courtesy” over a phased training period as contained in the established training manual.

“The quality of training received by the gallant men and women of the AFL has, over the years, been demonstrated by promptness to national tasks and heightened at the international level through the praise-worthy representation of the AFL at the MINUSMA, mission in Mali,” the release said.

Regarding deviant behavior by some individuals with the AFL, the MOD said, it has maintained discipline and regimentation in the force and is on record for severely punishing, including disrobing and turning over to civil authority, those whose attitude and behavior have brought them into conflict with the AFL regulations and laws of the Republic of Liberia.

Putting the blame for individuals’ actions on the lack of a particular institutional training course, as mentioned by the publication is nothing less than “terminology inexactitude,” said the statement.

Meanwhile, authorities of the ministry have underscored their gratitude for the support of the international partners to Liberia’s Security Sector Reform efforts. The Ministry assured the public that it will continue to work to ensure that the security of the state remains a top priority.

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