Liberians should not panic in the wake of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) drawdown as their maximum security is assured, says Armed Forces Chief of Staff (COS) Brig/Gen. Daniel Ziankahn.
In an interview with the Daily Observer on Friday, when he visited the newspaper’s offices near ELWA Junction in Monrovia, Brig/Gen. Ziankahn said the new Liberian army is people-centered and willing to work to protect and defend Liberians; and therefore, no Liberian should panic because the army is peace loving and law-abiding. Brig/General Ziankhan said Liberians must work along with the army to handle the affairs of the country as UNMIL draws down.
“Soldiers and civilians can work together to tackle any insecurity,” he stated.
He urged Liberians to report any misconduct of any member of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) for immediate redress. Gen. Ziankhan said the new army is involved in community projects, including the pavement of roads in some counties, and will continue to engage citizens through community outreach, town hall meetings and other forums educating citizens on the operations of the military in order to strengthen the military-civilian relationship.
He explained that the military-civilian relationship is a two way-street with soldiers respecting civilians and civilians likewise respecting the soldiers.
“This army has learned a lot about the handling of the affairs of the state; but without the contributions of citizens, we won’t achieve the peace,” he said.
Brig/Gen Ziankahn declared, “I assure our citizens that we will work in your interest to make our country secure and safe for all Liberians.”
The mission of the AFL, COS Ziankahn said, is to defend the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, including land, air and marine territory against external aggressions, insurgency, terrorism and encroachment. In addition, he said the AFL, in collaboration with other ministries and agencies, will respond to natural disasters and engage in other civic works as directed.
He regretted the shooting incident which took place in West Point during the peak of the deadly Ebola virus disease that caused the death of an innocent child and assured Liberians that the army will ensure that there is no repeat of such an occurrence.
The West Point incident occurred during the heat of the Ebola Virus Disease and the government decided to quarantine the community after materials meant for Ebola patients were looted from a designated location. In the process, an army officer discharged his weapon, which struck 16-year-old Shaki Kamara that eventually led to his death.
He admitted that there are logistical challenges but insisted that those challenges cannot stop the army from discharging its constitutional responsibilities. www.liberianobserver.com/Gloria T. Tamba