Armed Forces of Liberia

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The Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) is the military of Liberia. The current Minister of Defense is Browie Samukai.

History

The military began as the Liberian Frontier Force (LFF), which was formed circa 1877 as a 500-man force, whose mission was originally “to patrol the border in the Hinterland [against British and French territorial expansions] and to prevent disorders.”[1]

The LFF was renamed the Armed Forces of Liberia in 1962 and in 1984 included the Liberian National Guard Brigade and related units (6300 men), and the Liberian National Coast Guard (about 450 men). The important LNG Brigade was based at the Barclay Training Center (BTC) in Monrovia, and was composed of six infantry battalions (including the 4th Battalion at Zwedru[2]), a military engineer battalion, a field artillery battalion, and a support battalion.[3] The AFL was essentially the personal army of President Samuel Doe, who ruled as an autocrat during his term.

Immediately before the Liberian Civil War (1989-2003), the AFL consisted of about 6000 soldiers. By March 1, 2005, over a year after the war ended, the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) had disarmed and demobilized 101,495 people[4] who claimed to have fought for former president Charles Taylor or the two rebel groups, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) or the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL).

Rebuilding the AFL

In 2005, the United States provided funding for DynCorp International, a private military contractor, to train a new 4000-man Liberian Army. The projected force strength was later reduced to 2000 men. The new Liberian police force is due to reach its full strength of 3500 officers by June 2007. Once the Liberian Army is operational, UNMIL will start winding down the strength of its 15,000 strong peacekeeping force.

In 2005 most former AFL elements were concentrated at Camp Schiefflin, situated midway between Monrovia, Roberts International Airport and the American-owned Firestone Rubber Plantation in Harbel.[5] They have now apparently been retired with pensions. In 2007 the IISS Military Balance reported the AFL consisted of some 2,400 personnel with three non-operational infantry battalions, a non-operational engineer squadron and a similarly non-operational support squadron. The Armed Forces were planned to be operational by December 2007 and consist of a General Staff, land, air, and sea elements.[6] However there appears to be some lack of coordination, at least according to the Wall Street Journal, between the Liberian Ministry of Defense and DynCorp, who is training the new army.[7] The newspaper said in a August 2007 report:
Mr. Samukai also complains that he feels sidelined from the formation of an army that, as defense minister, he is supposed to oversee. Neither the State Department nor DynCorp will let him see the company's contract, for instance. And the U.S. insists that instead of talking directly to DynCorp managers, he go through Maj. Wyatt [chief of the office of defense cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia] on all matters related to the training.


On the other hand, DynCorp and the U.S. Embassy are scrutinzing the personnel for the new armed forces throughly. Recruits have to pass a literacy test, an aptitude test, a drug test and an HIV test, and their names and faces are put on posters which are distributed to try and make sure none have a history of war crimes or other human rights violations.[8] The Minister of Defense that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf appointed in early 2006 is also well-regarded; IRIN said in a January 2006 story:
Samukai is regarded as a safe pair of hands for the crucial Defence Ministry. As chief of police in the mid-1990s Samukai pioneered a rapid reaction force to crack down on armed robbery. Since fleeing Liberia when former warlord Charles Taylor came to power, Samukai has worked for the UN in East Timor and Tanzania.[9]


The CIA World Factbook reported that Liberia had made military expenditures of $67.4 million, 7.5 percent of the GDP. The 2005 estimate for manpower available for military service (males age 18-49) was 575,384, while the estimated manpower fit for military service was 267,430.

References

1. ^ Quoted in Aboagye and Rupiya, 2005, p.258
2. ^ Samukai, 2004
3. ^ US Library of Congress Country Study:Liberia via GlobalSecurity.org, Organization and Strength, accessed August 2007
4. ^ UN Secretary-General's 6th Report on UNMIL, S/2005/177, dated March 17, 2005, paragraph 22. A higher figure of 103,000 is often quoted but the original source cannot be determined with certainty.
5. ^ Location of the camp provided by GlobalSecurity.org, Camp Schiefflin, accessed mid September 2007. See also IRIN, LIBERIA: Soldiers refuse to quit camp needed for new army, 4 January 2006, mirrored at GlobalSecurity.org
6. ^ Routledge, IISS Military Balance 2007, p.280
7. ^ MICHAEL M. PHILLIPS, An Army unsuilled by past Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2007
8. ^ MICHAEL M. PHILLIPS, An Army unsuilled by past Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2007
9. ^ IRIN, LIBERIA: Sirleaf unveils first members of new peacetime government, January 17, 2006

Bibliography

Motto
"The love of liberty brought us here"
Anthem
All Hail, Liberia, Hail!


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(1979) Get Happy
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Alternate cover

US 1979 and 2002 reissue cover, also known as "paint spatter cover"

For the military meaning, see Armed forces.

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Motto
"The love of liberty brought us here"
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All Hail, Liberia, Hail!


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Monrovia, population 572,000 (2003 census), is the capital city of Liberia. The city's economy is dominated by its harbor, which was significantly expanded by U.S. forces during the second World War. Main exports include latex and iron ore.
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Infantry or footmen are soldiers who fight primarily on foot with small arms in organized military units, though they may be transported to the battlefield by horses, ships, automobiles, skis, bicycles, or other means.
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battalion is a military unit of around 500-1000 men usually consisting of between two and six companies and typically commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel. Several battalions are grouped to form a regiment or a brigade.
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Zwedru is the capital of Grand Gedeh County, one of the 15 counties in the West African country of Liberia.

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military engineer is primarily responsible for the design and construction of offensive, defensive and logistical structures for warfare. Other duties include the layout, placement, maintenance and dismantling of defensive minefields and the clearing of enemy minefields and the
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Field artillery is a category of mobile artillery weapon used to support armies in the field. These weapons are specialized for mobility and tactical efficiency, and not for long range nor sheer destructive power.
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Samuel Kanyon Doe (May 6, 1951 – September 9, 1990) was the President of Liberia from 1980 to 1990. His regime was characterized by ethnically-based dictatorship and the suppression of political opposition.

Trained by U.S.
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autocracy is a form of government in which the political power is held by a single self appointed ruler, usually a dictator. The term autocrat is derived from the Greek word autokratôr (lit. "self-ruler", or to: "rule by one's self").
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The Liberian Civil War can refer to one of the following conflicts:
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