President Sirleaf Visits EBK Barracks; Assures Army of Governmentís Continued Support

Friday, 16th June 2017
President Sirleaf, Gen. Ziakhan and Acting Minister Johnson
President Sirleaf, Gen. Ziakhan and Acting Minister Johnson
Photo Credit: Mr. Ousman Diallo-EXECUTIVE MANSION
Monrovia, Liberia: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has paid a working visit at the 23rd Infantry Brigade of the Armed Forces of Liberia at the Edward Beyan Kesselly Military Barracks. The visit was intended to console Fatumatta Sheriff, widow of the late Corporal Ousman Sheriff who was killed by a rocket fire on a United Nations camp in Timbuktu, Mali as well as identify with six wounded personnel of the AFL. She assured members of the Armed Forces of Liberia of government’s continued support to the soldiers. 
 
“The Government is behind you; As Commander-in-Chief, I am fully behind the Minister of Defense and the Chief of Staff,” the Liberian leader said. “Normally, when I come to EBK, I come to extol the soldiers; To tell them how much the nation appreciates them; I have come to say to you how well you are doing and how pleased we are. Today, is a different mission; This is a mission dedicated to the sadness that you all have been through. It is about one person who gave the ultimate price, life, service to his country and ECOWAS,” President Sirleaf lamented. 
 
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf made the statement on Friday, June 16, 2017 when she paid a one-day working visit at the 23rd Infantry Brigade of the Armed Forces of Liberia at the Edward Beyan Kesselly Military Barracks in Lower Margibi County where she was received by the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia, Gen. Daniel Ziankhan, Acting Minister of Defense, Joseph Johnson and other senior officers of the AFL. 
 
President Sirleaf told the gathering that when Liberia was in turmoil as a result of the 14 years of conflict, which led to the deaths of over hundreds of thousands of people, some were amputated while millions were displaced in and out of the country coupled with dire consequences for the Liberian economy, it took Liberia’s immediate and extended neighbors including Mali, who came here to save Liberia from such turmoil.
She said it was for that reason - when the conflict in Mali started, Liberia was under every obligation to go and contribute in exchange for what Mali and other Member States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) did for us.
 
President Sirleaf then assured the six wounded AFL soldiers and Madam Fatumatta Sheriff that even though government is continuity, but judging from her interaction with the leadership of the Ministry of National Defense and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia, every benefit and solution required to tackle such future predicament for personnel of the Armed Forces of Liberia would be put into place to address such challenges.
 
Regarding the lack of some basic social services including electricity, pipe-borne water and accommodations to address congestion in the barracks, President Sirleaf acknowledged the concerns. She informed soldiers of the AFL that the issue of water shortage in the barracks, which was also brought to the attention of authorities of the Liberia Water & Sewer Corporation (LWSC) is being addressed through the drilling if wells to alleviate the problem faced.
 
On electricity, President Sirleaf appealed to personnel of the 23rd Infantry Brigade to exercise patience as the Liberia Electricity Corporation will soon commence the transmission and distribution process for lines along the Monrovia to Roberts International Airport corridor, which will connect Kesselly Barracks to the power grid.
 
Speaking earlier, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia, Gen. Daniel Ziankhan informed the gathering that every time the leadership of the Armed Forces of Liberia as well as the Ministry of National Defense has the opportunity to meet with President Sirleaf, the focus is about upholding the morale and improving the well-being of personnel of the Armed Forces of Liberia.
 
Gen. Ziankhan assured the six wounded soldiers and widow Fatumatta Sheriff that their plight will also be taken up with the United Nations Mission in Mali in a bid to pay keen attention to the well-being of the wounded soldiers and family members of the deceased soldier to provide future alternative in terms of long-term livelihood.
 
The six wounded Soldiers include Col. Dweh Marriam, PFC. Sampson Abraham, CPl. Sarah Harris, PFC. Patrick John, PFC Lahai Titus, and PFC Beyan Gboloson, respectively while Corporal Ousman Sheriff died in action. In a related development Col. Dweh Marriam and PFC Sampson Abraham, were amongst the wounded soldiers that were admitted at a military facility in Senegal but returned home.