The NEWS (Monrovia)

4 January 2013

Liberia: 'If UNMIL Leaves, I'll Still Be Saved By You

Photo: Boakai M.Fofana/AllAfrica
President Sirleaf waits to greet guests arriving for an event.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has applauded the efforts of the Executive Protection Service (EPS), expressing confidence in their ability to provide protection for her even in the face of United Nations departure from Liberia.

"You have saved my life for years and I can openly say that if UNMIL leaves today, I can rest assured that I will still remain saved," the president said Friday to hundreds of EPS personnel.

Speaking when she served as special guest at the year-end party and honoring ceremony of EPS personnel, President Sirleaf praised the EPS for its hard work over the years, adding that she was pleased with their commitment and professional capacity.

She also described them as "true nationalists" and further praised their families for their tirelessly efforts toward the advancement of the country. "I must confess, that when I first took over as president, I was not very strong on security issues," she said.

"But today you guys have demonstrated and worked so hard and once I am with you guys, I feel saved; I can enter a dark room knowing very well that I will come out safe, because I know that you are watching my back," she said.

Continuing, she said "to you, the family, I say thank you so much for your patience; at times your husband's come home very late yet you understand; I salute all of you and thank you for the job well done."

Friday's event also witnessed the presentation of awards to at least three employees of the service.

Among them included S/Agt. Ellious Blamo Sr, Personnel of the year and S/Agt. Matthew Johnson, most dedicated personnel of the year.

Speaking further, the President said she looks forward to a more robust EPS in 2013, with a commitment of ensuring professionalism and service to country.

For his part, the Director of the EPS, Col: Othello Warrick, thanked President Sirleaf for the confidence reposed in the EPS and vowed to continue on a renew zest in 2013.

"Madam President, you can rest assure that we will always protect you as per our mandate," he said, "we have professional men and women that you can rest rely on in 2013, we can assure you of our renewed vigor to service and our country."

Meanwhile, several top security officials, including National Security Advisor, Dr. Boima Fahbullah have also defended the strength and capacity of the EPS in protecting the life of the president and other top VIP's in the country.

"Let me say this in all sincerity Madam President, that we have some of the most courageous and committed men and women you can find in any service around the world," he said.

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