‘We Signed up to Serve’

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Gen. Johnson (sitting center) poses with his entourage and a cross-section of the students and other guests shortly after the forum ended.

AFL Chief of Staff says at civic engagement

The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) Major/General Prince C. Johnson, III, says members of the AFL soldiers are servants of the Liberian people, because this is what they signed up to do.

“By joining the AFL, we have signed up to serve. We therefore want the public to see us in this light,” Johnson said.

Gen. Johnson spoke on Tuesday, February 5, 2019, at a citizen- engagement round-table interaction with students and other youth groups on the campus of the African Methodist Episcopal University (AMEU) in Monrovia. He reassured Liberians that the new army has signed up to serve their country, no matter the challenges.

The round-table interaction was held in the auditorium of the university in collaboration with the Federation of the Liberian Youth (FLY) and students of the student body, as well as Liberia National Student Union (LINSU). It was held under the theme, “Building a Force for Good through Service and Welfare.”

The Tuesday forum was part of activities marking this year’s February 11 Armed Forces Day.

Gen. Johnson said that the essence of the engagement was to get the young people, who make up over 60 percent of the country’s population, to understand what the AFL is about and how they can collaborate to make the country safe for all.

“This forum is intended for us to have a dialogue with the student community and to provide a clear understanding about the function of the AFL and its contribution in maintaining peace,” he said.

“We can’t say there are no challenges facing the AFL; but as soldiers, we have signed up to serve our country as a force for good,” he said.

Johnson named some of the challenges as lack of good living facilities, manpower and logistics, adding that the army is the best and most vibrant security institution in the country and, as such, “we all must work together to ensure that we maintain this status.”

He told students that in spite of the many challenges, the soldiers were able to successfully implement “Operation Restore Hope,” an initiative that was intended to ensure maximum security and safety for the general public. The initiative was successful in handling the 2017 elections and has also been instrumental as members of the AFL serve as peacekeepers in the troubled West African nation of Mali.

“Our peacekeeping mission outside the country is another achievement, and this new army will continue working in the interest of this country,” Gen. Johnson reassured.

Deputy AFL Chief of Staff Brig/Gen. Geraldine J. George used the occasion to encourage women to join the army, with the mindset of coming in to serve their country, no matter the challenges.

“I encourage our young women out there to join the army, but you must be determined and willing to work very hard and respect the law that governs the AFL.

“I am in this position today not because I am a female, but because I was successful in all of the training courses. In the army, there is nothing like being sorry for a female; you have to pass all your tests and demonstrate the determination that you have a passion for the field,” Gen. George said.

Youth and Sports Minister Zeogar Wilson called on the youth to take advantage of opportunities and programs that are being carried out by the ministry in order to contribute to the country’s development agenda.

Wilson also lauded Gen. Johnson and his entourage for engaging the young people and providing them the necessary information about the work of the army.

FLY president Amos Williams lauded the AFL and the soldiers for attending the forum which, according to him, enabled Liberians to understand the actual operations of the army.

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