US Donates Boats, Vehicles, Equipment to AFL

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With the official turning over of all security functions to the government by UNMIL, one of the major areas of concern has been logistics, and the United States Government has come in to provide support.

The US Government yesterday turned over twenty vehicles, spare parts, two 24- foot Boston Whaler boats and equipment to the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL).

This support, according to US Ambassador Christine Elder, is to boost the logistical capacity of the Armed Forces of Liberia. At the official turning over, the US Ambassador said the ceremony reminds her of the strides the AFL has made since its reconstitution in 2005.

“It’s a pleasure to be here to officially hand over equipment, 18 Land Cruiser pickups, two cruiser maintenance vehicles and towboats, which will help Liberia better control its coastal waters, contribute to international peacekeeping missions and protect its people,” Ambassador Elder said.

The United State, she said, has a long relationship with the AFL, “as we were heavily involved with the demobilization of the old as the civil war ended, and recruiting, vetting, training and equipping a new AFL of about 2,000 men and women.”

She explained that Operation Onward Liberty (OOL) was established to provide US military personnel to assist with the mentorship and training of the new AFL, which has been a fruitful partnership.

“As the Liberian security forces have recently and successfully taken over security responsibility from UNMIL peacekeepers, we commend the Government of Liberia’s commitment to contributing to peacekeeping internationally,” she said.

The US envoy said the U.S government in addition will provide a permanent donation of a 10,000 litre a day truck, a 50,000 litre a day water purification unit and a mobile kitchen trailer.

She stated that as the partnership between the two countries moves forward, the U.S Government will continue its support to Liberia through the Embassy’s Office of Security Cooperation, focusing on five main areas which include: defence institution strengthening; engineer support; professional development; maritime security; and medical readiness.

Ambassador Elder also highlighted the support of her government to maritime security and the Liberian Coast Guard (LCG) in addition to the two 24-foot Boston Whaler boats that were turned over and the newly renovated boat ramp at the LCG base on Bushrod Island.

“Among other activities, we are also helping establish systems to monitor the integrity of the AFL, assist with force maintenance policies, develop basic clinical and laboratory facilities, provide training for the army medical personnel and further develop the engineer battalion,” she said.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on behalf of the government and Liberia, lauded the U.S Government for its sustained support and strong partnership.

The President described the ceremony as timely because the vehicles, equipment, and boats will enable the soldiers to discharge their duties effectively.

“To our Brigadier General Daniel Ziankahn, you can count on us for the support you need, and we wait to see how you will put this to work,” she said.

Brig /Gen. Ziankahn disclosed that some of the donations including the Land Cruiser vehicles would be deployed to Mali to help the AFL soldiers as they are contributing to peacekeeping in that part of Africa.

He thanked the US Government for the kind gesture and promised to use the items to protect and defend the country as they have now taken over national security.

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