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Liberia, Guinea sign military pact

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Liberian and Guinean militaries have come up with their first planning document for a joint military operation at their common borders to start the process of joint patrol, counter – terrorism operations, trainings, information sharing and handling illicit trafficking of small arms, among others.

The joint military measures follow the signing of a joint communique between Liberia and Guinea during President George MannehWeah’s recent visit to the neighboring country and meeting with his counterpart Prof. Alpha Conde.

Climaxing a two – day technical meeting Tuesday, 23 July in Monrovia, the army authorities representing Liberia and Guinea indicated that the planning document has to go back to the politicians to get the approvals of the Ministers of Defense of Liberia and Guinea.

Liberia’s Army Chief of Staff Gen. Prince C. Johnson, II, clarified that there is no imminent threat in Liberia or Guinea, but the measures are being taken now due to terrorist and religious extremist movement in West Africa.

“No, there’s nothing like any imminent threat in Liberia or Guinea; but looking at what is happening within the region – ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States], you can see that terrorism has spread from the Sahara into Mali,” Gen. Johnson says.

He adds that today there is a problem in Mali, and bombing has taken place in neighboring Ivory Coast while Burkina Faso also faces problem.

Given these instances, Gen. Johnson notes that “we” don’t have to wait for these incidents to happen in Guinea or Liberia before taking action.

He stressed the need for the two countries to cooperate, engage in joint border patrol to know how to counter any terror incident if it is encountered between the two countries.

Chief of Staff Johnson narrates that a joint communique was signed which stated that due to the increasing terrorist and religious extremist movements in West Africa, both Ministers [of Defense] from the two countries were instructed to seek the opportunities of cooperation.
In particular, Gen. Johnson cites military and security, training and capacity building, sharing information and intelligence, border security, and handling illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons as just a sub – set of the communique between President Weah and President Conde.

Gen. Johnson further explained that it was based on the meetings between the two heads of states that prompted the first technical meeting which ended Tuesday, 23 July.

According to him, the technical meeting began the discussions on the formality of how the two countries can start a joint operation at their common borders in which militaries from both sides can benefit trainings.

For his part, Guinean Military Director of Operations and Head of the Military Delegation to Liberia Col. Michel AngeBangoura describes the relationship between the two countries as excellent, and the partnership between the militaries of the two states as very good.

Col. Bangoura narrates that Liberia and Guinea worked hand – in – hand during the days of ex-president SekouToure, recalling how all the African countries joined efforts to assist his country when a group of mercenaries came from Portugal to attach Guinea in 1970.

However, Col. Bangoura recalled that there was a point in time that the relationship between the two countries went bad, but he was quick to point out that after a democratic process which saw Prof. Alpha Conde becoming president, the presidents of Liberia and Guinea had a developmental vision for their countries.

Moreover, he emphasized that development cannot be talked about without peace and security, a task he says is for the men in uniform.By Winston W. Parley

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