The 37th Ordinary Session of the Economic Community of West African States ECOWAS commences today at the Boulevard Hotel in Monrovia. Fourteen of the regional Chief of Staffs from the ECOWAS and their delegates will be discussing regional security matters like insurgencies in Nigeria and Mali.
The current Chairman of ECOWAS Chief of Staff’s Brigadier General Daniel Dee Ziankahn who is also the Chief of Defense Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia will be succeeded by Togo Chief of Defense Brigadier General Titikpina Atcha Mohamed after serving his tenure for one year. Few months ago, the former Chair person of ECOWAS President Sirleaf handed over to the new Chairman and President of Togo Faure Gnassingbe after serving for twelve months. The position is a one year rotational period among member states. Any country’s President that happens to be the new Chairman, the post of ECOWAS Chief of Defense will also go to that country’s Chief of Defense Staff. The outgoing Chairman Brigadier General Daniel Dee Ziankahn must be commended for sailing through his tenure. As Chairman, his approval and authority on regional matters were eminent in the deployment of every mission across the region. His appointment has emulated not only the Armed Forces of Liberia, but he as well helped to place Liberia among top security deciders in the region. The AFL has been imminent in missions around the region such as the Economic Mission in Gambia (ECOMIG) where it went to monitor the democratic transition of power to the President elect Adama Barrow who won an elections against the long term ruler Yayah Jammeh. The recent deployment of Liberian troops alongside African soldiers in Mali to boost the capacity of the Malian Government in tackling the uprising of jihadist movements is evident that our soldiers are well fit to partake in peacekeeping missions around the world. Despite the death of one Liberian soldiers and the wounding of some during a surprise attack, the AFL continues to commit itself to the course of restoring peace and security in Mali. During the recent Sierra Leone mudslide disaster, the AFL wasted no time after assessing the level of the impact in traveling to Sierra Leone with medical equipment and relief items in order to sympathize with our neighbors. That action was commended by His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone as timely and necessary. The readiness of all stakeholders in the upcoming election process derives from the presence of a secured state and atmosphere of peace and tranquility. Even though the United Nation Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) will be closely monitoring the elections, and the Liberian National Police will be frequently seen on the grounds, the bulk of the security strategies will be based on the shoulders of the AFL.