5 February 2013

Liberia: AFL Leaves for Troubled Mali Soon

Photo: Brahima Ouedraogo/IRIN
Northern Mali has long been a trafficking hub

The Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) is expected to join other West African nations serving on peace mission in troubled Mali in about 45 days.

The decision followed consent by the Liberian Senate to allow the Liberian soldiers serve on peace mission in that country. The Senate had earlier rejected President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf's request to allow Liberia contribute troops to Mali.

The Malian mission will be possible following the completion of basic legal and financial requirements to ensure the departure of the soldiers.

The latest move followed a meeting with Defense Minister Brownie Samukai, Justice Minister Christiana Tarr and other security officers by members of the Liberian Senate.

Liberia has committed itself to contribute a platoon side of the AFL to Mali.

On January 19, 2013, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, while attending an Extraordinary ECOWAS Summit, committed to join other West African States in confronting the forces that are threatening the territorial integrity of Mali.

When the news reached the Senate, the lawmakers rejected the President's overture to commit AFL soldiers to any peacekeeping mission, arguing that the Liberian leader did not consult them before making the decision.

The lawmakers contended that as the first branch of government, President Sirleaf should have informed them before committing Liberian troops to Mali.

Last week, the issue of financial support for the soldiers was discussed. Finance Minister Amara Konneh was blunt on the issue of financial support for the soldiers. He said sending the men to Mali would cause Liberia certain amount which was not disclosed.

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