MONROVIA: President George Manneh Weah, who is also Commander-in-Chief (CIC), of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), says he has explicit confidence in national security forces.
CIC Weah disclosed that he has progressively monitored the achievements of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) and reserves no doubt that they are on the right path to greatness, both locally and internationally.
President Weah made the statements on Saturday, February 11, 2023, at the Barclay Training Center (BTC) on the United Nations Drive in Monrovia, at celebration marking the 66th Anniversary of the Armed Forces Day.
According to CIC Weah, there are unique capacities that the AFL can bring in supporting civil authority, particularly in the Liberia’s development efforts.
“First, and foremost, we must continue to strengthen our border control mechanisms, and remain vigilant against the negatives that could affect the peace and stability of the nation and people,” President Weah told the men and women in arms.
Similarly, the AFL CIC said, Liberians must not waiver to protect themselves against acts of extremism and the consequences of terrorism.
He pointed out that Liberians must be better informed, and ensure effective coordination and preparedness between and among the military and civilian law enforcement agencies, against any action that could affect the country’s peace, security and stability.
“Today, our flag is being carried proudly by our soldiers in the troubled regions of Timbuktu, the Republic of Mali; the Republic of Sudan; and the Republic of South Sudan,” CIC Weah narrated.
The Liberian leader named other countries where gallant men and women of the AFL are making contributions to peacekeeping missions as the Republic of Guinea Bissau and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
“These are all very volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) missions,” President Weah pointed out.
“Our hearts go out to them, and we look forward to proudly receiving them safely back home at the end of their missions,” he declared.
The President than used the occasion to thank Major/General Daniel Ziankahn (Rtd.), Minister of National Defense, and his able team for the excellent leadership they have manifested in making the Nation’s Armed Forces, a “Force for Good”.
He told the defense minister that his diligence and dedication in transforming the Liberian military have earned him credibility and respectability both at home and abroad.
Weah also lauded Major/General Prince C. Johnson, III, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia, for his outstanding leadership and sense of discipline and direction that has engendered the confidence of the Liberian people in the AFL.
“I want to personally thank all of our military families, husbands, wives, children, and extended families, for their continuous support, which positively impacts the performance of our troops,” CIC Weah applauded.
The AFL Commander-In-Chief also congratulated all members of the Armed Forces of Liberia- a “Force for Good” – for their discipline, dedication to duty, and commitment to the responsibility of protecting Liberia’s territorial integrity, and for the gallantry exhibited by them in executing their missions and tasks wherever they are deployed.
He stated that the recruitment drive for new members to join the armed forces, which began in 2022, is ongoing, with 2,335 successful applicants from five regions of the country.
President Weah said the first batch of recruits and officer cadets training began in October last year at the Armed Forces Training Command, comprising of 176 recruits and 24 officers graduated from the Initial Entry Training in December of last year, and they completed the Advanced Individual Training at the end of last month at the Barclay Training Center.
According to CIC Weah, the government has involved the armed forces in infrastructural development in the country to ensure it contributes its quota to meeting the needs of Liberians, even while conducting its security operations.
“I must say that the armed forces have lived up to this opportunity and have been instrumental to numerous infrastructural development efforts of the government, so far,” CIC Weah added.
President Weah stressed that the engineering company has been actively involved in the construction and reconditioning of feeder roads and bridges, as well as pedestrian walkways in some towns and villages of Liberia.
“These projects are well-structured and up to international standards,” he pointed out.
According to the President, the Liberian Government is aware that all these achievements have occurred even with the numerous challenges faced by the Armed Forces, including inadequate funding, lack of manpower, scarce accommodation for personnel, and inadequate codified policies for administering military justice.
He, however, assured Liberians that his administration is making concerted efforts to address these challenges as evidenced by the approval of the Court Martial Regulation for the Armed Forces, which will greatly assist the administration of military justice in Liberia.
Many such regulations will come on board in the coming days, President Weah disclosed.
“As we strive to meet the logistic needs of the Armed Forces, we are also making effort to meet our training needs, by building more capacity for the Armed Forces training institutions,” he said.
CIC Weah stated that the AFL is in the process of establishing its Non-Commissioned Officers Academy at the Armed Forces Training Command at Camp Sandee Ware which, “will not only increase our military capacity, but will also foster and strengthen regional and international ties with foreign militaries.”
The President recalled that, last year, during the 65th Armed Forces Day Celebration, he promised that, as Commander-In-Chief of the AFL, to construct twenty-five (25) apartments to ease the accommodation challenge in the military.
“The project commenced with the construction of two (2) blocks of five (5) apartments in Camp Tubman, Gbarnga, Bong County, and one (1) block of five (5) apartments at the Forward Operating Base (FOB) Buchanan, Grand Bassa County,” he said.
According to President Weah, the construction works for these apartments are currently ongoing, and are being implemented by the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE), and Building Material Center (BMC) Incorporated, on Capital Bye-Pass in Monrovia.
The Liberian leader disclosed that, two (2) blocks of five (5) apartments each are expected to be constructed in the vicinity of the 14 Military Hospital to serve as accommodation for doctors.
He emphasized that despite the challenges in the growth process, we shall continue to make favorable policies to support the Armed Forces of Liberia to grow in strength and might, as such, the government will continue to look into the future with new hope and aspirations as we expand our efforts.
“We have taken bold decisions to change things and restore public confidence in our Military and Security Sectors, and it has not been easy to achieve this, especially when viewed against a backdrop of limited resources and technical inefficiencies,” he said.
President Weah told the gathering that he learned that in 1954, Colonel Francis M. Dean, the then Assistant Chief of Staff and Intelligence Officer of the Armed Forces of Liberia, using the United States concept, conceived the noble idea and recommended that a day be set aside yearly as “Armed Forces Day” to honor the members of the Armed Forces of Liberia.
“I am also told that the 11th of February in each year was then set aside by an Act of the Liberian Legislature to be observed as Armed Forces Day, in recognition of the bravery and sacrifices of troops of the Armed Forces of Liberia who had ended a mutiny that took place on February 11, 1909,” the President stated