Liberia is set to deploy its first batch of police peacekeepers on a United Nations peacekeeping mission, with four officers due to depart the country on 14 January for South Sudan in East Central Africa to join other forces under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
South Sudan faced a civil war that broke out from December 2013 through February 2020 before a unity government was formed between President SalvaKiir and rival RiekMachar.
Presenting the first four officers from the Liberia National Police (LNP) during a press conference Tuesday, 12 January at the LNP Headquarters, Police Inspector General Col. Patrick T. Sudue said it is a landmark achievement for the police force under his administration.
The four officers commissioned to serve in the UN Mission in Southern Sudan include the team leader Chief Superintendent Togba J. Massaquoi, Chief Superintendent Anthony T. Blaye, Superintendent Rachel B. Harris and Sargent AbdullaiDukuly, Jr.
Col. Sudue says the LNP expects these officers to exhibit high quality of discipline and to be very diligent, dutifu and responsible in the UN Mission, reminding them that they are Liberia’s ambassadors on the mission.
“You are bearing the Flag of the Republic of Liberia, whatsoever attitude or your deportment out there will represent, will definitely reflect on the Republic of Liberia,” he cautions.
Col. Sudue notes that the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) went out on a UN Peacekeeping mission and has been making Liberia proud by exhibiting good conduct, thereby urging the police team to follow the good example that the AFL has set.
Giving the historicity of the officers’ selection, Col. Sudue says in his quest to have LNP officers serve on UN Peacekeeping mission, he was invited to New York in December 2018 by former Liberia’s Ambassador to the United Nations, now Foreign Minister Dee – Maxwell SaahKemayah.
Col. Sudue says the meeting afforded him the opportunity to meet with the Deputy Police Adviser and Officer in Charge of the UNPOL, Shaowen Yang where modalities of including the Liberia National Police on Peacekeeping Mission was highlighted with a commitment made of including Liberia on UN Peacekeeping mission.
Upon his return from New York, Col. Sudue says his administration in May 2019 for the first time in the history of the LNP established the LNP’s Peacekeeping Desk headed by Assistant Commissioner of Police Kalemo D. Karyo, a trained and professional police trainer.
He discloses that 100 officers were vetted and trained by the LN’s Peacekeeping Desk with oversight from the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Liberia.
Of that number, he says 34 officers comprising 31 and 3 females were certified by the UN Peacekeeping Department after successfully completing the United Nations Required Test conducted by Successful Selection Assistance & Assessment Team (SAAT).
Out of the certified number of officers, he says four officers comprising 3 males and 1 female have been selected to participate in the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Southern Sudan (UNMISS).
The mission is expected to last for a year, after which a new batch of officers may be dispatched to Southern Sudan based on the prevailing security situation.
At the press conference, Deputy Police Inspector General for Operations Col. Marvin Sackor reminds the commissioned officers that they represent the nation and the regimental institution, urging them to set standards on the mission.
Col. Sackor says the four officers represent almost every department within the LNP, noting that it shows that their actions will set the standards that will give way for others.
Responding on behalf of his team, Chief Superintendent Togba J. Massaquoi thanked the leadership of the LNP for giving the kind of support from the very beginning of the process that has brought his team this far.
Officer Massaquoi assures that their moral conduct will garner praises, promising to remain in touch with the LNP authorities to channel issues that will require authorities’ attention to ensure that the necessary action is taken.
By Winston W. Parley