After 14 years of serving in the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), an official farewell ceremony was held this week in Monrovia to honour the last departing police and military personnel serving there.
“Today, Liberia is a success story and example of a post conflict nation that has emerged stronger than ever before. The country is a symbol of hope for other nations engulfed in conflicts and wars” said Force Commander Major General Salihu Zaway Uba, who heads UNMIL’s Military component – that includes Nigeria, Pakistan and Ukraine personnel.
In 2003, UNMIL began with 16,475 uniformed personnel. Since that time, 61 contingents from various countries have served there. At Tuesday’s farewell ceremony 404 military and 285 police personnel were honoured.
According to the major general, the mission’s military and police took great strides towards strengthening peace and security, rule of law and governance, as well as other important issues in Liberia.
Police Commissioner Simon Blatchly Heads the Formed Police Unit, composed of Nigerian and Chinese personnel.
The Force Commander said it was not all roses particularly for the military, which had 138 fatalities, while the police lost 21 people.
“As we close, the memory of those 159 people and others in the mission will continue to live in our minds, we will continue to pay special tribute to them and those who contributed to peace and security in Liberia” said the major general.
On behalf of Police Commissioner Blatchly, the Force Commander expressed appreciation to the uniformed component of UNMI, saying “as individual units and contingents, you have done well to keep the flags high, we are proud of your endeavours as significant contribution to peace in Liberia.”