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Support Liberian troops in Mali

AFL to Mali NDThe Senate Committee Chair on National Defense Atty. Steve Zargo, is recommending for the Liberian Government to either step up support to its military mission in Mali or bring the troops home.

“…There’s a need for more because if you sent your troops in a foreign country, they become the ambassador; they speak volume for you. I mean their physical presence; the contribution they are making in Mali is enormous. So then we got to give them those things they need to perform their task,” he stressed.

Appearing live on the Liberia Broadcasting System’s Super Morning Show Wednesday, 8 July following his visit to the Liberian platoon on peacekeeping mission in Mali, Senator Zargo said he has already reported to the full Senate here, recommending that if Liberia wants to remain engaged in Mali, government must step up its support to the military or withdraw the forces.

Under the arrangement that led to sending Liberian forces to Mali for peacekeeping, Senator Zargo says contributing countries go there with their own equipment, not relying on the UN to give them such support.

“Let me tell you what I told the full Senate… if we want to remain engaged, if we want to have our military engaged in Mali, let support them; if we can’t support them, then withdraw them,” he stressed.

Despite the need for budgetary and logistical support proffered by the Senator, he however noted they were doing very well in the West African state that has been rocked in military crisis since 2012.

Regarding UNMIL drawdown from Liberia, Senator Zargo fears that the national security here is not yet prepared to fully take over from the UN Peacekeepers.

He said Liberia is not “ready,” but “we are gradually getting ready” in terms of providing national security after UNMIL.

Already, Senator Zargo says he has sent a proposal to the House Security committee and the Senate Pro-tempore, requesting for a national security dialogue and review.

He says the Plenary has agreed, and plans underway to ensure that it is consummated.

The senator argued that in contemporary military science, it is not the size that matters; instead he suggests the capacity of the army to effectively deal with security situations matters.

“If this is the force for good, it should have the good things to work with so it can deliver the good things to the Liberia people,” he emphasized.

Over the period of time, Senator Zargo says it has been realized that Liberia’s security threat is not an external threat; but rather an internal security threat.

“This time around in our country we are good with our neighbors; we got a good diplomatic relationship with Sierra Leone, Guinea, [and] Cote d’Ivoire. We got, and I’m told there is an intervention force somewhere between Liberia and Ivory Coast there to help in case of any problem. So we’re good externally.”

But internally, the Senator believes Liberia has some problems, citing broad day armed robbery and a recent sit-in incidence in Zugba Town that he says speak volumes, among others.

“That is an internal security threat. We need to put our house together. We need to have the police fully prepared and ready. The strength, yes, and the capacity to work. Those are concerns we need to address,” he concluded. Editing Jonathan Browne

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