Pres. Sirleaf flanked by Defense Min. Samukai and COS Ziankahn
AFL Performance Overwhelms Pres. Sirleaf
By Ballah M. Kollie
MONROVIA, February 11 (LINA) - President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has extolled the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) for always rising to the occasion regardless of time, location, situation or condition.
She made the statement in her Armed Forces Day message delivered at the 60th anniversary celebration of the Force held at the Barclay Training Center in Monrovia.
President Sirleaf, who is also Commander-In-Chief of the AFL, reflected on the turbulent days of disturbance at the country’s South-eastern border with neighboring La Cote d’Ivoire where the military swiftly moved in and executed “Operation Restore Hope”, demonstrating the effectiveness of civilian and military
She described the AFL’s 60th anniversary celebration as being two-fold - one being the occasion itself set aside to honor the men and women in arms and the other being her last official celebration of Armed Forces Day as President of Liberia, noting that celebrating the annual event brings glory and honor to her as C-I-C.
President Johnson Sirleaf said the splendid and successful implementation of “Operation Restore Hope” by the Liberian military is a clear sign of the outstanding training and discipline the AFL has received since she ascended to the presidency in 2006.
She stressed the exceptional performance by the AFL, but prayed that the opportunity will no longer arise where they will have to physically fight terrorists on home soil.
Meanwhile, C-I-C Sirleaf has extolled former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo for his exceptional role in building the new army, particularly for sending some of his country’s trained and professional soldiers to help with the training of the AFL.
The Liberian leader also credited the U.S. Government for training programs, noting that some U.S military personnel still work with the AFL in various capacities. ]
She also praised China and other development partners for helping to equip the new army.
It can be recalled that the rebuilding of the new army in Liberia began in 2006 following the ascendancy of President Sirleaf to power as Africa’s and Liberia’s first democratically-elected female president.
The Liberian military is already helping with regional peace by taking up peacekeeping duty in Mali and has officers assigned at the headquarters of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as part of the region’s standby force, as well as having the Mano River Union secretariat under its security protocol.
In recognition of the fallen men and women of the army, President Sirleaf recognized the presence of the widows of the first Nigerian Commanding Officer in charge of the Liberian military, the Chief of Staff and the Deputy Chief of Staff, all of whom were present at the occasion.