President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has paid a working visit at the 23rd Infantry Brigade of the Armed Forces of Liberia at the Edward Beyan Kesselly Military Barracks in Schefflin, Margibi County.
An Executive Mansion release says the visit on Friday, 16 June at the 23rd Infantry Brigade of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) was intended to console Fatumatta Sheriff, widow of the late Corporal Ousman Sheriff who was killed by a rocket fire on a United Nations camp in Timbuktu, Mali. The Mansion says Mrs. Sirleaf who is also Commander - in - Chief of the Armed Forces, identified with six other wounded personnel of the AFL during the working visit at the EBK Barracks.
The six wounded Soldiers include Col. Dweh Marriam, PFC. Sampson Abraham, CPl. Sarah Harris, PFC. Patrick John, PFC Lahai Titus, and PFC Beyan Gboloson. Col. Dweh Marriam and PFC Sampson Abraham were among the wounded soldiers that were admitted at a military facility in Senegal but returned home.She assured members of the AFL of government's continued support, noting that "The Government is behind you".
"As Commander-in-Chief, I am fully behind the Minister of Defense and the Chief of Staff," Mrs. Sirleaf said According to the president, she normally goes to the EBK to extol the soldiers, to tell them how much the nation appreciates them. "I have come to say to you how well you are doing and how pleased we are. Today, is a different mission; This is a mission dedicated to the sadness that you all have been through. It is about one person who gave the ultimate price, life, service to his country and ECOWAS,"
President Sirleaf lamented.
She had been received at the EBK Barracks by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel Ziankhan, Acting Minister of Defense Joseph Johnson and other senior officers of the AFL.
Mrs. Sirleaf recalled that when Liberia was in turmoil as a result of the 14 years of conflict which led to the deaths of over hundreds of thousands of people, some were amputated while millions were displaced in and out of the country.
Coupled with dire consequences for the Liberian economy, she said the armed conflict took Liberia's immediate and extended neighbors including Mali, who came here to save Liberia from such turmoil. Mrs. Sirleaf said it was for that reason when conflict started in Mali started, Liberia was under every obligation to go and contribute in
exchange for what Mali and other Member States of ECOWAS did here.
She then assured the six wounded AFL soldiers and Madam Fatumatta Sheriff that every benefit and solution required to tackle such future predicament for personnel of the AFL would be put into place to address such challenges. She acknowledged concerns of lack of some basic social services including electricity, pipe-borne water and accommodations to address congestion in the barracks.
Mrs. Sirleaf informed soldiers of the AFL that the issue of water shortage in the barracks, which was also brought to the attention of authorities of the Liberia Water & Sewer Corporation (LWSC) is being addressed through the drilling of wells to alleviate problem faced.
On electricity, she appealed the army to exercise patience while the Liberia Electricity Corporation commences the transmission and distribution process for lines along the Monrovia to Roberts International Airport corridor soon. Speaking earlier, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia, Gen. Daniel Ziankhan informed the gathering that every time the leadership of the AFL and the Ministry of National Defense have the opportunity to meet with President Sirleaf, the focus is about upholding the morale and improving the wellbeing of personnel of the Army.
Gen. Ziankhan assured the six wounded soldiers and widow Fatumatta Sheriff that their plight will also be taken up with the United Nations Mission in Mali in a bid to pay keen attention to the wellbeing of the wounded soldiers and family members of the deceased soldier.