By AFRICA RENEWAL
The UN Mission in Liberia successfully disarmed Liberia’s warring factions. The mission’s first commander, Lt-Gen Opande, spoke to Africa Renewal’s Zipporah Musau and Kingsley Ighobor.
What was the security situation in Liberia when you first got there?
I arrived in Liberia from Sierra Leone on October 1, 2003. By then Sierra Leone had established a UN peacekeeping mission. The situation in Sierra Leone had returned to normal: there was a functioning government and peace had been restored countrywide.
But Liberia was the opposite: Nothing functioned, the government had collapsed, without effective security arrangement the entire country was in turmoil and in danger of falling apart. People were moving about looking for safety and food. It was a very bad situation.