The Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) last week moved closer to operational independence when a Liberian Lieutenant Colonel (Lt. Col.), Daniel Ziankahn assumed command of the 23rd Brigade situated at Edward Biyan Kessely Barracks, near Camp Schefflin, Margibi County.
The Liberian took over command from a Nigerian Army officer, Colonel S.K. Adorkor, in a change-of-command ceremondy Monday.
According to the a statement from the US Embassy in Monrovia, this change of command in the restructured AFL marks the first time that a Liberian officer has commanded the unit in four years.
The change of command ceremony, the statement said, featured a passing of the colors, an official transfer of authority, and a display of the lineages of previous commanders.
The assumption of brigade command by Lt Col. Ziankahn, who is described as one of the AFL’s best leaders, is a seminal event in Liberia’s progression toward fully commanding its own military.
The United States and ECOWAS military mentors have conducted sustained military-to-military training engagements with the AFL to help them build a more professional and capable military force –one that will effectively contribute to the overall security environment and that is a “force for good” within Liberia.
The restructuring of the AFL became necessary following the adaptation of the Comprehensive Accra Peace Accord in 2003 that finally put an end to 14-long years of civil strife.
Since that time, the strength of the new AFL has been between 1,000 to 2,000; with some being placed on perpetual absence without official leave (AWOL), while some have also been dropped from the official list for various reasons ranging from “indiscipline to disorderly conduct” among others.