MONROVIA, June 24 (LINA) - The Platoon of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), who departed the country for a peacekeeping mission in the West African State of Mali, will return to Liberia on Thursday, June 26 via the Roberts International Airport (RIA).
The return of the first platoon of Liberian peacekeepers is not the end of the AFL peacekeeping mission in Mali. Rather, it brings to an end a year of peacekeeping duty for the first platoon.
"The platoon of soldiers is the first post-war peacekeepers who have served in international peacekeeping with distinction, bringing pride to our nation," said a Defense Ministry press release issued here Tuesday.
“We salute them for the job well done, and we want Liberians to know that they have flown the Liberian Flag very high on the international scene. We are very proud of their performance as they have demonstrated to the rest of the world that after years of civil conflict, something good can once again come from Liberia,” the release issued added.
Since its deployment to Mali on 23 June 2013, the platoon has over the last 12 months conducted several missions in and out of its area of operations. These missions include escort, vehicle and foot patrols, reconnaissance and other special assignments.
According to the press release, the most critical task undertaken by the AFL in its peacekeeping duties was to provide security protection for wide areas far beyond its capacity for a period of 42 days after the pull out of Nigerian forces.
The Platoon was based at Alantona Camp in Diabaly about 340 km northeast of the capital Bamako.
The press release said in line with the administrative mandate towards personnel serving in peacekeeping, The United Nations (UN) through the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), a Medal Day Parade was held in honor of the Liberian Platoon serving in MINUSMA on 6 June 2014.
The release added that Defense Minister Brownie J. Samukai and Brig. Gen. Daniel Ziankahn, AFL Chief of Staff, decorated the personnel.
This is the first platoon of AFL personnel to receive UN Medals since the restructuring of the national army in 2006.
It can be recalled that on the 23 0f June 2013 the Government of Liberia dispatched a platoon of AFL troops to form part of the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA), an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) organized military mission sent to support the government of ECOWAS member nation Mali against Islamist rebels in Northern Mali.
Meanwhile, on June 26, 2014, a new Infantry Platoon, headed by Captain Ernest A. Appleton, will depart Liberia for Mali.
The outgoing Platoon has already completed three months of pre-deployment training at the Armed Forces Training Command in Careysburg.
The pre-deployment training covered all aspect of tasks expected to be conducted during the tour in Mali.
It covered medical screening and physical training, and courses in Geo-Politics of Mali, International Humanitarian Law, Introduction to Patrol, Individual Soldier Task, Map Reading/Land Navigation, First Aid, Road block, Cordon and Search, Ambush, VIP Escort, Control of IDPs, Urban Operations, Desert Warfare, Battle Drills, Offensive Operations, and Combat/Operational Stress Control, amongst others.