Former soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) have called on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to settle the US$25 million arrears they claim the government owes them, threatening to disrupt the 2018 transition if the money is not paid.
Though the ex-soldiers’ spokesperson, retired Colonel Wolo Nagbe, did not disclose the actual number of the affected former soldiers, he claimed that his group has the capability to frustrate the January 2018 transition.
Col. Nagbe also did not explain how the government came to owe his group the US$25 million, but described President Sirleaf as “treacherous,” without giving an explanation.
Failing to recognize that the old members of the AFL were branded as a “warring faction,” which caused them to be disbanded and their hierarchy given government positions during the Comprehensive Accra Peace Agreement, Nagbe claims that President Sirleaf has failed to reconcile members of the new AFL with those who were disbanded.
“We are prepared to do what is necessary for our people as executives of the disbanded soldiers,” Nagbe declared.
The former AFL Colonel said his group is prepared to do anything to convince the government to pay them the US$25M arrears, and resorted to using vulgar language while blaming President Sirleaf for their financial difficulties.
“We’ve been treated unfairly by this government and the President; and therefore, we are calling on all of the ambassadors, European Union Mission here and the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to prevail on the Liberian Government to pay us,” he said.
He also called on political parties and politicians to join his group to prevail on the government to pay them, which he eventually acknowledged may not happen under President Sirleaf’s tenure as it is about to end.
When contacted yesterday, an official at the Ministry of Defense said “the government does not owe a dime” to former warring parties that were later disbanded because of the Comprehensive Accra Accord.
“We will not allow any group to disrupt our peace,” the official, who asked not to be identified, said. “If they think they are men, let them try what they are capable of doing.”