A platoon of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) previously assigned under the command of a battalion in a brigade of the Nigerian Army in Mali has been put under the command of a battalion of the Togolese Army, defence authorities in Liberia confirmed.
In June last year, an enhanced platoon of the AFL was deployed to form part of the all African-led peace-keeping Mission to Mali (AFISMA). Later that same year, on July 1, the AFL joined the United Nations Stabilization Mission to Mali, now called MINUSMA.
“With these few ongoing changes, our AFL platoon is operating alongside a Togolese battalion deployed 410 km north of Bamako, Mali’s political capital in the desert area of Diabili, joining in the international fight against terrorists and gangs of marauding extremists.”
Interestingly, Minister Samukai reported that from all intelligence indications, the AFL troop is “focused on their mission and performing very well under the prevailing circumstances.”
According to him, the presence of Liberian troops in peacekeeping epitomizes the great leap forward that Liberia has achieved under the “inspiring leadership of President Sirleaf.”
“Years ago, the thought of Liberian military in a UN peacekeeping mission would have been unthinkable; now it is a reality and shows how far post-war Liberia has come.”
The disclosure was made by the Minister of National Defense, Brownie Jeffery Samukai, Jr. on Tuesday, February 11, at program marking 57th and this year’s Armed Forces Day.
The well-attended and much-publicized ceremony of the 57th Armed forces Day was held at the Barclay Training Center (BTC) on UN Drive in Monrovia on the theme, “Enhancing the Capabilities of the Armed Forces of Liberia to Meet Contemporary Challenges.”
While reporting to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is the Commander-In-Chief (C-I-C) of the AFL, an overjoyed Minister Samukai boasted of a “small, but highly trained Coast Guard that has on a number of occasions, conducted and participated in several successful operations at sea and reverie (dangerous waters) areas.
According to him, the Coast Guard have also carried out several search and rescue operations, and have equally “interdicted (intercepted) and arrested illegal activities in our coastal waters, and have undertaken joint border operations with La Côte d’Ivoire along the Cavalla River at the Liberian/Ivorian border.”
As for the AFL itself, Minister Samukai reported to CIC Sirleaf that since the restructure exercise started in September 2006, the AFL now have two infantry battalions; a service of support company and a military police (MP) Company that are all capable of executing their respective functions.
Minister Samukai reported to President Sirleaf that the AFL also has a logistics command and an engineering company that is well trained and being positioned to grow into a full fledge engineering battalion over the next three to five years.
Moreover, he reported that the AFL has its own training command based in Camp Todee, Upper Montserrado County that is capable of carrying out basic and other tactical training.
The Minister also recalled that the Armed Forces Training Command is at present, conducting basic infantry training for 140 new recruits at Camp Todee, a good number of them being females.