19 March 2014

Liberia: UNMIL Relocates From Gbarpolu

UNMIL has officially signed out its military contingent from Gbarpolu County saying it is readjusting to provide adequate security protection in the borders of Liberia as the situation demands.

The mission on Tuesday,18th March 2014 took the 34th Nigerian military battalion from the county who were based in Bopolu City saying it wants to add up to the current Liberian/UNMIL security force in Grand Gedeh to strengthen security at Liberia's border with Cote D'Ivoire.

The relocation exercise was marked by signing of several memoranda of understanding which emphasized that the facilities which were once occupied by the military is now in the possession of the Liberia Government, that hence fore, UNMIL will not take any charge of damage or accident that may incur in the perimeters of the facilities and that the facilities do meet the environmental protection standards of Liberia.

Facilities handed over to the Liberian Government through the local county administration include a number of prefab and concrete structures once used as offices, lavatories and worship centres; a communication tower and a safe drinking water well amongst others.

UNMIL Regional Administrative Officer Joe Mshindo said the main security threats for which the military was assigned in Gbarpolu has faded out and it is now time for national security institutions, especially the Liberia National Police, Bureau of Immigration, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the National Fire Service to take full control of the county's security adding, "this shows that Liberia is on the right path of stability".

He said the handover of the facilities was done in consultation with the Liberian Government long ahead of time and all security contingencies were considered and will be shouldered and led by the Liberian Government. Gbarpolu County Assistant Superintendent for Development Yassah Fallah received the facilities on behalf of the Liberian Government and assured of their maintenance.

She disclosed that a good number of LNP Officers, some from the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) have already deployed to beef up the current strength of the LNP force in Gbarpolu under the command of the a new County Commander, Inspector Jacob Comehn, and more are expected in the coming days as a way to prove that the Liberian Government is in the readiness to take charge of national security when UNMIL leaves.

UNMIL Coordinator of Downsizing and Camp Handover, Safa Gaibov, reechoed that the relocation of the military in no way suggests that UNMIL is leaving Gborpolu County or Liberia now but instead the move is a matter of readjusting to provide appropriate security protection services as demanded in certain parts of the country.

He record that similar exercise was done in Grand Cape Mount, Lofa, Nimba and Sinoe Counties and the very next is expected in Tubmanburg, Bomi County next month, April.

"As the military relocates or withdraws, a good number of peacekeepers who include civilian (Human Rights, Civil Affairs) and UNPOL are remaining to basically lead the UN's peacebuilding programs, I must assure. In fact, there is also a strong team of Formed Police Unit(FPU) of Nepalese just next door in Tubmaburg who also have oversight responsibilities over your county and Grand Cape Mount that are equipped and trained to effectively work along with the LNP", Gaibov said.

Paramount Chief of Bopolu Chiefdom, William Mawolo, spoke on behalf of the community thanking the peacekeepers for their services and said their contribution to peace in Liberia is immeasurable. He wished them good lucks in their future endeavors.

The ceremony was witnessed by representatives the Chief and Elders' council, Youths and Women Groups and other line ministry representatives of the Government of Liberia assigned in Gbarpolu County.

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