The Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) is faced with operational challenges due to insufficient funding, which hampers its ability to deploy quickly or sustain operations outside of Monrovia, the United Nations has observed.
However, it noted that the army continues to engage in joint training and exercises with the Liberia National Police and other security agencies.
A special report on Liberia to the Security Council recently further noted that although the country has a total of 150 coastguards to patrol 150 nautical miles, but it has limited operational role due to lack of personnel.
The report furthered that both in the army and the coastguard, attrition is high and discipline has been an issue, citing developmental constrain characterized by limited opportunities and resources to conduct the exercises required to sustain training and develop skills.
The U.N. averred that the Armed Forces of Liberia, which comprises 2,236 personnel, four percent of whom are women, has primary responsibility to defending the country against external aggression and insurgency.
But added that there are constitutional limits to the army’s role in internal security set out in Article 85 of the Constitution of Liberia and the 2008 National Defense Act.
The report disclosed that in August 2016, the United States of America concluded training and mentoring programme for the Armed Forces of Liberia, considering the task of creating a professional and credible army to have been successfully completed.
Accordingly, the United States still provides support to strengthen defense institutions, professional development, maritime security, engineering support and medical readiness, stressing that ECOWAS is also mentoring the Armed Forces of Liberia.
“The army is well trained and equipped, but lacks experience, having been newly established in 2006. Negative perceptions remain, although the army comprises mostly new recruits who were vetted by the United States and are not associated with the Armed Forces of Liberia that was a party to the civil war”.
Commenting on the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, the report maintained that the BIN, which has 2,596 personnel, including 751 women manages and controls borders and enforces the Aliens and Nationality Law, is making every effort to archiving gender parity at all levels.
It said with strong leadership, the BIN has advanced internal reforms and decentralized services, despite the lack of sufficient mobility, communication and infrastructure to sustain deployments at border posts.
By Emmanuel Mondaye-Editing by Jonathan Browne