New Democrat (Monrovia)

Liberia: No Money for AFL Deployment

No budgetary allotment has been made for the deployment of over 40 members of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) to the West African state of Mali, Finance Minister Amara Koneh disclosed Tuesday.

"We have just begun to work with the Ministry of National Defense on the issue [of money for the soldiers]. There is no money," he said.

If the soldiers leave as planned, the government of Liberia should take care of their logistical needs for a three-month period.

But at the Capitol Building Tuesday when he appeared before the senate along with Defense Minister Brownie Samukai and Justice Minister Christiana Tah, Minister Konneh said funding the AFL deployment in Mali would be costly. He said there was no allotment in the budget for that.

Although he could not give a specific amount projected for the mission, the Minister revealed that such a venture would cost the government a huge amount of money. He said the budget allotted for other operational activities or projects would be greatly sliced to meet the needs of the mission in Mali.

For Minister Tah, she could not comment on the Issue because, she said, said she was not too abreast of it.

Nevertheless, Defense Minister Samukai said that the AFL stands ready to implement the mandate of the President in Mali.

"Since 2006, the AFL has undergone all necessary training to partake in such missions," he said. According to him the soldiers were leaving well prepared to defend the nation and Liberia is currently going through bilateral talks with its partners for logistical supports for the soldiers.

Following the discussion, the senate mandated the Security and Defense committee to work on their information provided and report to them within a week.

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