In a poignant ceremony at the Barclay Training Center, President George Weah of Liberia expressed profound admiration and gratitude for the remarkable contributions of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) during their mission in Mali as part of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA). Addressing the gathering on Thursday, December 21, 2023, President Weah lauded the soldiers for their unwavering dedication, exemplary conduct, and outstanding performances in the noble cause of international peacekeeping.
President Weah underscored Liberia’s pride in the AFL soldiers, recognizing their pivotal role in the collective effort of peace-loving nations worldwide. He commended their resilience, not only in navigating the harsh arid climate of Mali but also in bravely confronting infectious disease outbreaks, including the challenges posed by Ebola and COVID-19. The President acknowledged the soldiers as the beacon of hope, not only for Liberia but for the entire region and beyond, emphasizing the importance of their continued service.
Reflecting on the AFL’s journey, President Weah recalled the government’s support, both logistically and operationally, to ensure the success of the UN mission. The President disclosed that an initial amount of $700,000.00 was allocated in the National Budget for Fiscal Year 2022 to aid the troops in their peacekeeping operations. Despite these interventions, he acknowledged the existing challenges and expressed hope that the incoming administration would seamlessly pick up where his government left off, ensuring the AFL’s preparedness for future peacekeeping endeavors.
In a poignant moment of remembrance, President Weah paid special tribute to Sergeant Ousman Sheriff, a fallen personnel, and all others who were wounded in Mali. The President highlighted the AFL’s growth from a platoon size at the commencement of the Mali operations, attributing the expansion to the collective efforts of past and present AFL leadership. The ceremony, attended by government officials, AFL leadership, members of the diplomatic corps, international partners, and friends and family of the honorees, served as a testament to Liberia’s commitment to international peacekeeping efforts following the end of the civil war and decades after the country’s initial involvement in UN Peacekeeping in the Congo.