Zwedru, Liberia – Speaking at a medal awards ceremony for Indian Police Officers serving with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and Coordinator of UN Operations in Liberia, Ms Karin Landgren reiterated the UN’s commitment to supporting Liberia’s security as transition of the mission’s security responsibilities to the Liberian authorities continues.
“UNMIL will be progressively handing over our security responsibilities to the Liberian authorities. This is a slow and gradual process that has been carefully planned and prepared. The aim is to draw down in such a way that security is maintained,” SRSG Landgren explained at the medal parade held earlier this week in the southeastern Liberian town of Zwedru, for the Indian Formed Police Unit 2 (FPU2) serving in Grand Gedeh and Maryland Counties.
UNMIL’s transition began in October last year when the mission handed over facilities in Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County to the Liberian authorities. Last December, UNMIL also handed over its facilities in Foya, Lofa County to local authorities.
“The next step is the handover of the UNMIL facility at Loguatuo to the authorities in Nimba County,” the SRSG said. She stressed that UNMIL was not leaving Liberia, but would stay in Liberia and stay involved in helping to build the capacity of the country’s security agencies.
Some one hundred and twenty Indian police officers were awarded UN medals at the ceremony in recognition of their contribution to supporting peace and stability for the Liberian people.
SRSG Landgren commended the Indian peacekeepers and their Contingent Commander, Col. Lal Chand Yadav, for going beyond the call of duty to reach local communities with humanitarian assistance, notably healthcare. More than eight hundred Liberian people had benefitted from the Indian FPU’s medical outreach in Grand Gedeh County, receiving vital medical treatment and medicines.
“These, and your other humanitarian activities, are a testament to your thoughtfulness and dedication to help those in need,” Ms Landgren remarked.
During her day-long visit to Zwedru, Ms Landgren also met with County Superintendent Peter L. Solo and a large gathering of traditional leaders. The parade was attended by local county officials and UNMIL’s senior leadership including the Force Commander, Maj Gen Leonard Muriuki Ngondi, UN Police Commissioner John Nielsen, and UNMIL’s Director of Mission Support, Hubert Price.