President George Weah, Commander-in-Chief (C-I-C) of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), said Liberia has increased its troops on the peace keeping mission in the troubled West African country of Mali from 78 Platoon-sized soldiers to a 105-strong men power, signifying the level of training the soldiers have acquired over the years as a “Force for Good.”
A UN mission known by its acronym MINUSMA was stationed in Mali since 2013. The mission is considered the world body’s most dangerous active peacekeeping deployment, with Liberia deploying a 78-strong troop serving in the 13,000-strong MINUSMA force, which has since been assisting Malian troops struggling to secure the country from insurgency in the Taureg region.
President Weah, during his second Annual Message, said the AFL will continue to play a significant role in the quest for peace and stability in Mali under the auspices of the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations Mission known as MINUSMA.
Weah said in February of 2018 the AFL conducted two successive rotation exercises to reach a total of five rotations since the beginning of the Mission.
He said during the period under review, several local and international training opportunities were provided by partners, including the United States of America, China, The governments of Bangladesh, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria to improve the administrative, tactical, and operational capabilities of the men and women of the AFL.
In a related development, President Weah said the Engineering Company of the AFL collaborated with authorities of the Ministry of Public Works over the year to undertake numerous projects aimed at improving civil-military relationship by engaging in a series of civil works, which have to do with some of the feeder roads.
President Weah meanwhile reiterated his pledge and commitment to ensure the building of an army of professionally-trained soldiers who are well paid, highly educated, comfortably housed, and medically cared for in keeping with the highest standards the world over.
He said the Ministry of National Defense continues to ensure professional military training for soldiers by working with international partners in restructuring a credible defense sector that would maintain the peace and provide an enabling environment for the implementation of the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development.
Weah said as part of post-conflict security sector reforms, the National Defense Act of 2008 included provisions to re-establish the Liberian Coast Guard so as to patrol the country’s territorial waters.
“With assistance from the United States government, the Liberian Coast Guard was fully reactivated and partially equipped to conduct maritime security and safety operations,” Weah said.
As part of his government’s achievement, President Weah named the military 14 Hospital for soldiers and referred to it as the first ever in the country’s history to cater to peacekeeping.
It can be recalled that on February 11, 2018, while addressing AFL servicemen during the 61st Anniversary, President Weah promised to construct a 200-bedroom military hospital for use by military and Para-military personnel.