UN Peacekeepers Drawdown From Gbarpolu County

UNMIL Chief Karin Landgren: UNMIL is also working with the government in rebuilding the justice and security sectors in particular. As we draw down from places, we need the Liberian national police to take over
UNMIL Chief Karin Landgren: UNMIL is also working with the government in rebuilding the justice and security sectors in particular. As we draw down from places, we need the Liberian national police to take over
Flashback: UNMIL Nigerian Peacekeepers during a medal parade in Monrovia, 2012
Flashback: UNMIL Nigerian Peacekeepers during a medal parade in Monrovia, 2012

The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) has officially turned over all facilities previously used by its troops in Gbarpolu, to the Government of Liberia, after its drawdown from the county.

UNMIL has been in Liberia, keeping the peace for more than a decade, and with peace here, it has since begun drawing down.

When it started, UNMIL’s strength stood  at 15,000 soldiers (the largest UN Peacekeeping mission, then), including 250 military observers, 160 staff officers, up to 875 civilian police officers and an additional five armed formed units each comprising 120 officers—to man the peace.

The multidimensional operation — composed of political, military, civilian police, criminal justice, civil affairs, human rights, and gender and child protection, among others—has been widely hailed by Liberians for successfully implementing its mandate.

UNMIL disarmed combatants and helped Liberians hold their first two democratic elections in 2005 and 2011 in more than 25 years. Ten years later, UN Peacekeepers, now dwindled in their number, are still on the ground helping Liberians gel and maintain their peace, having successfully executed their mandate.
UNMIL’s current mandate in Liberia stands up to July 2015. “UNMIL will still have 3,750 military force in the country and also 1,800 of police force [by that time]…and that is because after 10 years of peace, Liberia no longer needs a huge UN military presence,” UNMIL Boss Karin Landgren told this writer in an interview last October, adding that the Mission was gradually turning over to the Liberian government.
The departure of UNMIL military team from Gbarpolu is in line with UNMIL’s national drawdown plan. Facilities turned over in Gbarpolu include eight container offices, air conditioners and a communication tower.

Speaking during the turning over and signing ceremony on Tuesday (March 18), UNMIL Head of Field Support Team, Muchiri Murenga, said UNMIL was gratified to turn the facilities over to the county administration, and hoped they would be properly used and maintained.

He also expressed gratitude to the chiefs, elders and other officials of the county for their unflinching support and cooperation with UNMIL, in the sustenance of peace in Liberia.

In remarks, Gbarpolu County Assistant Superintendent for Development, Yassah Fallah, thanked UNMIL for the facilities and appealed to the UN to continue assisting the county with quick impact projects, including the construction of police stations in other parts of the county, to enhance national security.

The turning over of the facilities marks the end of the UNMIL military drawdown in Gbarpolu County.

However, the UNMIL Civil Affairs Section has been left in charge of security in the county.

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Author: D K Sengbeh

Danicius Kaihenneh Sengbeh (author of Sengbeh's Weblog) is a respected and renowned Liberian journalist, poet and writer with with journalism experience since 2001, of working both as a mainstream journalist and a communication/media consultant in Liberia. He is Secretary General of the Press Union of Liberia (elected Dec 2013). He was Assistant Secretary General of the Union Dec 2011 to Dec 2013. He is also Editor-In-Chief of The Informer Newspaper—one of Liberia’s credible dailies. Before joining the Informer, Danicius had served as reporter, chief reporter, sub-editor and News Editor at The Independent Newspaper between 2002 and 2006. Before then, he was reporter at the defunct Patriot Newspaper and Kiss FM 2001-2002. Danicius is a UN Media Fellow and Liberia’s first UN Medal Award-winning journalist for his contribution to journalism and for being the second Liberian journalist in 15 years to qualify for and successfully attended the United Nations’ Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalist Fellowship Program in New York and Geneva, Switzerland in 2012. He earned a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Mass Communication and Sociology from the University of Liberia and a Diploma in Journalism from the International School of Journalism. He holds several awards and recognitions both in and outside of journalism, and carries dozens of certificates in journalism and communication from studies in Ghana, China, United States and Switzerland, among others. He volunteers as Chair of the Information and Communication Committee of his local Bardnersville community. He can be quickly reached via (+231) 886586531/777586531/777464018/ dakasen1978@yahoo.com

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