The first time since the 1960s, Liberia has sent peace troops to another African nation. The first deployment was to the Democratic Republic of Congo. This time around, about 50 troops will aid the UN’s 120,000 peace force MINUSMA in Mali, Voice of America reports.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf sent the soldiers off in a ceremony Thursday in Liberia’s capital city, Monrovia.
Emmanuel Minarth, troop officer, offered reassuring words that expressed the country’s willingness to participate in restructuring Mali’s political stability.
“We are going to Mali to help our friends. They helped us during our war. If we are in the position to help, we need to do so,” he told Voice of America.
According to All Africa, the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) will join ranks with a Nigerian battalion to be led by commander Nathaniel Waka.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) helped to organize the Mali military mission dubbed AFISMA, along with the United Nations Security Council Resolution. Solidified in December of 2012, the peace mission will strive to calm Islamist rebels that have lashed out against the government in northern parts of the nation.
In January, following an ECOWAS conference, Johnson Sirleaf pledged to send Liberian troops to help with the peace mission, All Africa reported. Soon after, the troops went through training at Camp Sande Ware in Careysburg, Liberia.
“You are the pride of Liberia,” Sirleaf told the troops at the send-off ceremony, Voice of America reported.