Liberians are lavishing praises on the UN peacekeeping mission UNMIL for its job well done, days after a farewell program was held in Monrovia for the departure of the remaining small size of the mission.
The mission began here since 2003 with 16,475 uniformed personnel, but there were just 689 uniformed personnel comprising of 404 military personnel and 285 police officers as at the time of the farewell that came after a gradual drawdown process.
This paper conducted interviews with Liberians including petty traders, motorcyclists, money exchangers and other residing here following the UNMIL farewell program.
Most of the people interviewed say it was a great experience working and living while UNMIL was keeping the peace in the country, extending their thanks and appreciations to the men and women of the UN peacekeeping force who sacrificed their lives and time in order to restore Liberia.
A petty trader identified as Rachel Bedell told this paper that since UNMIL entered the country, there has been a serious level of orderliness in the manner of governance and the way security treat its citizens.
Madam Bedell notes that national leaders and security personnel always have it in the back of their mind that other people are watching them.
“If I have my own will UNMIL will not leave for now till we can see this new government’s style of ruling because you know this is Africa, mostly Liberia. People do change after receiving the power from the people and then take them to be nothing and even going to the extent of calling them noisy minority,” Madam Bedell says.
Also speaking, a motorcyclist identified as Samuel Kpan notes that it was the presence of UNMIL in Liberia that made the country to have a peaceful election and transition.
“Firstly, I will like to extend my appreciation to all Liberians for the level of love and care they have shown and still showing to their country. Why I say so is that every country that enjoys peace today depends on the love the citizens have for their country,” Mr. Kpan says.
While praising UNMIL for its service, Samuel Kpan also thought to appreciate Liberians for equally keeping the peace.
He notes that without the help of Liberians who felt tired and did not want to return to the bush, UNMIL’s stay in Liberia would have been in vain.
He believes that UNMIL would not be thinking of leaving the country by now if Liberians were not tired of fighting each other. An official farewell ceremony was held this week in honor of the departing UN peacekeepers, symbolizing the end of UNMIL’s military and police operations in Liberia.
The Force Commander Major General Salihu Zaway Uba says the Mission’s uniform component including military and police have taken greater stride towards strengthening peace and security, rule of law and governance, among others in Liberia.
He has been heading UNMIL’s military component of men and women from various countries including Nigeria, Pakistan and Ukraine.
The Police Commissioner Simon Blatchly has been heading the Formed Police Unit (FPU) which is composed of Nigerian and Chinese personnel.
By Ben P. Wesee–Edited by Winston W. Parley