By Alva Mulbah Wolokolie
In the wake of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) drawdown plan, the Deputy Minister of Operations at the Ministry of Defense, Saint Jerome Larbelee, has reassured the citizenry that in support of the peace process, the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) is ready to defend the territorial borders of the country. At the closing ceremony marking a “BONFIRE” field training named and styled “Exercise Watch Over III” in “Little Bassa”, Grand Bassa County on Wednesday, Minister Larbelee assured citizens of that district that authorities at Defense Ministry will enforce that AFL remain a force for good.
“We are managing the AFL to continue its regular military exercises. I promise you that the AFL will remain a force for good. In spite of the financial difficulties, we will enforce that,” Minister Larbelee said.
In a special remark, the Chief of Staff of AFL, Brig. Gen. Daniel Ziankahn, told the citizens of “Little Bassa” that he was proud to announce that the men and women in arms are citizens, soldiers and that the army is a professional one to relay on.
As an army, Brig. Gen. Ziankahn indicated that the army needs regular training exercise so that when called upon by the Commander-in-Chief to perform a task, they would be already set and enthusiastic.
Explaining the background of the training, the Chief Public Affairs officer of the AFL, Capt. Dessaline F. Allison told reporters that the exercise is the third in the series of field training which started in Bong, Cape Mount and now in Grand Bassa County.
Capt. Allison said the training entitled “BONFIRE Exercise Watch Over III” which lasted for a week, comprises both conventional and guerilla tactics which is a senior driven work out where blank bullets were used.
He added that the purpose was also undertaken to regularly test the ability of soldiers when they are requested upon to launch an operation or defend the borders of the country.
At the end of the training, Capt. Allison disclosed that the AFL refurbished bridges along the road to “Little Bassa” and conducted medical outreach to the citizenry.
Speaking on behalf of the township, the town chief of Little Bassa, Williams Carr, lauded the government for bringing the soldiers closer to the people which he believes would bring to the fore confidence in the minds of the ordinary people with the army.
Chief Carr wants authorities at the Defense Ministry to continue such exercise in all parts of the country so that the citizens can interact with their soldiers happily without any restraint.