AFL Leaves For Mali Today

By Edwin G. Wandah

The Government of Liberia has ordered with immediate effect a platoon to contribute to the ongoing political uprising in the West African State of Mali which has caused the lives of hundreds of people, women, men and children.

According to a release from the Defense Ministry, Liberia’s step was taken to quickly respond to the devastating political crisis in Mali which has the propensity of spreading to other neighboring countries in the sub-region.

But the question of the role of the Armed Forces of Liberia the AFL will be to focus on post-war recovery process in Mali instead of venturing into guerilla warfare and according to the Executive Mansion announcement on Tuesday night, the AFL would depart the country on Thursday, June 20, 2013, to join the Africa International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA).

The Executive release further said that the Liberian platoon will be aligned with the Nigerian battalion, with first Lieutenant Waka to serve as Commander of the platoon Unit. This means that Liberia’s Mission in Mali will be the first time since 52 years.

Liberia in 1961 provided troops to the UN peacekeeping force established under UN Security Council Resolution 143 of July 14, 1960 to respond to the Congo crisis. According to Deputy Defense Minister for Public Affairs at the Defense Ministry, Liberia’s Mission is not solely on Peace Keeping.

“There is no peace in Mali to keep. So, they are not going on a peacekeeping mission,” Minister Dahn stated. Minister Dahn further said that Liberia’s focus will be on combat force and not peacekeeping mission.

Currently, there are 400 French trained troops already deployed in Mali since France launched the war on January 11, 2013, and have driven the jihadists in most parts of Mali’s northern towns except for some of the towns like Kidal and other places that are still being held by the Tuareg rebels.