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Defense officials promise citizens’ army

Officials of the Ministry of National Defense have promised to build a “citizens oriented army,” meaning that the army will be citizens- friendly and professional.

Appearing before the Senate’s committee on National Defense, National Security, Intelligent and Veteran Affairs, Monday afternoon, 19 February, Deputy Defense Minister for Administration – designate Tibli Olandrus Dickson, Deputy Defense Minister for Operations – designate Ernest Varfee, Assistant Defense Minister for Public Affairs – designate Sam Collins assured a Senate Committee on National Defense, National Security, Intelligent and Veteran Affairs Monday afternoon, 19 February that they bring skills and professionalism to the army which the country and its citizens can rely upon.

“I bring skills to build the Defense Staff and the Armed Forces of Liberia especially in the awareness and preparedness at all times,” Deputy Defense Minister for Administration – designate Tibli Olandrus Dickson says.

He notes that with [wealth of] skills brought by his team, they will build the capacity of AFL in information security if confirmed by the Senate.

The Defense Team headed by Mr. Dickson indicates that the Defense Ministry has policy document on the protection of civilians and the new army under their respective watchful eyes intends to improve on it.

The officials also promise to resolve anything that creates dark cloud over the image of the army. The Ministry of National Defense is said to have deducted money from soldiers’ paychecks under the administration of former Defense Minister Brownie Samukai since the force was restructured in 2006, and deduction is claimed to have continued up to present.

But Mr. Samukai has since dismissed the claim before leaving office, stating that the deductions began in 2009 and not in 2006 as alleged. He alleges that they have paid money into a welfare funds created with the intent to cater to the needs of soldiers.

By E.J. Nathaniel Daygbor –Edited by Winston W. Parley

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