Retired Captain Jerry Kollie, spokesperson for disbanded security personnel here claims the new AFL lacks requisite weapons to protection the country.
“I think the AFL needs more weapons that will enable them carry out their mandate of protecting citizens of this country, because a country without thorough security open doors to all types of crimes”, he asserts.
He told Power FM Wednesday, 14 February that if the security sector should effectively execute its constitutional mandate, adequate measure should put in place to address various constraints that are facing the sector.
According to him, weapons displayed during recent parade by soldiers of the AFL to commemorate Liberia’s 61st Armed Forces Day are just backyard weapons to protect the Commander-In-Chief alone, noting they are not weapons the state could rely on in fighting external enemies.
The retired captain stresses this is the 21st century and weapons being used by the AFL are not substandard, noting that the country needs weapons like M16 automatic rifle, among others, and that government as an institution should seek loans to properly equip security forces that are protecting the state.
He cautions that in the absence of adequate security, investors may not come Liberia and once there is no modern weapon, criminals would have an advantage.
Retired Captain Kollie says investors would shy away under such condition, because they will not want to risk their lives in a country where their lives and properties would not be protected.
Disbanded security forces here recently called on President George M. Weah to pay them an amount of US$70 million as pension benefit, claiming that they were downsized by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who took office in 2006.
Kollie explains that the deactivated security personnel sacrificed their lives in serving the country, so they are entitled to benefit, because they worked for it. “We served this country with our lives; we also protected the state house, which is the Executive Mansion, which was not captured in any military violence.”
Commander-In-Chief, President George MannehWeah addressing soldiers at Armed Forces Day celebrations in Monrovia on Monday, 12 February promised to build modern facilities for the men and women in arms.
“I want to inform you, that I shall seek funds to build a hospital exclusively for the use of the Army and other security forces. This will be the first ever military hospital built in Liberia,” Mr. Weah said, while addressing soldiers at the Barclay Training Center (BTC).
He says the proposed hospital for exclusive use by security personnel, will be equipped with the most modern facilities, and will be staffed by highly trained medical personnel.
By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne