MONROVIA, LIBERIA (August 4, 2005) – DynCorpInternational, a leading professional services and projectmanagement firm, is helping the U.S. government demobilize andretire members of Liberia’s armed forces, and to train a new,modern army to serve Liberia’s future interests.
The United States is spending nearly $70 million this fiscal yearto rehabilitate combatants and reintegrate them into society,reform the country’s police force and financial sector, and providehumanitarian and medical relief to Liberia.
The goal of the demobilization program is to help 9,000 warrecruits – who joined the army after 1989 during Liberia’s waryears – re-enter civilian life.
They will have undergone a thorough demobilization process nearCamp Shiefflin outside of Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. As partof the severance process, each war recruit receives ademobilization certificate, a state-of-the-art ID card that isvalid for life, and a voucher for $540.
During the opening ceremony on June 30, Liberian Minister ofDefense Daniel Chea urged members of the Armed forces of Liberia(AFL) to conduct themselves as military professionals during theprocess. The service men responded enthusiastically, often breakinginto song and military cadence as they waited in the demobilizationline. A.W. Short, program manager for DynCorp International inLiberia, said the AFL members behaved excellently, citing that”morale and esprit de corps was high as the units moved on to abetter day for Liberia.”
Staff Sgt. Lawuoba Emmanuel Baker, Air Reconnaissance Unit,explained that it felt good to go through the demobilizationprocess. Since it was his first time being photographed andfingerprinted with such sophisticated equipment, he found theexperience “hard but not in a bad way.” The professional fumigatorsaid he would use his $540 to buy more chemicals and spray tanksfor his business.
Jacob Wah is one of the 30 Liberian computer and fingerprintoperators who are processing the soldiers. He has learned tooperate a computer program that produces IDs with photos andfingerprint information. He said he was enjoying the work and hasfound the war recruits to be polite.
“This is a process that we must go through for the country to beon good footing,” said Capt. Joseph Simpson, a pilot with the AirReconnaissance Unit. “This process, as everyone knows, is thegateway to the election and then forward on. It´s something that wefeel happy about. For those of us who would have the desire to comeback and will meet the criteria, that is good enough. On the otherhand, those who will be going [to civilian life], as the ministerrightly put it, they should not have any fear as they will have thesecond chance of going to school. So far, so good. I amhappy.”
Capt. G. Mansfield Hne of the Air Reconnaissance Unit said he ishappy that army members have been appreciated and compensated.