The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Lt/Gen Daniel Dee Ziankhan, has called on residents of the Township of West Point to put behind them differences that may have ensued with members of the AFL.
Speaking Saturday at a reconciliation conference held between West Point residents and members of the Armed Forces of Liberia at the N.V. Massaquoi school, Gen Ziankhan said irrespective of what happened in the past, it was time that all Liberians work together to move the country forward, especially after the declaration of Liberia as Ebola-free by WHO.
Relations between residents of the Township and the AFL went sour on August 20, 2014, when a soldier allegedly shot a 16 year-old resident identified as Shaki Kamara, who was part of a group that refused to be quarantined by the government upon reports of an outbreak of Ebola in the township.
Meanwhile, the AFL has promised to send its Engineering Battalion to help renovate health centers and schools in the area.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Commissioner of the Township, Sampson J. Nyan, urged residents to accept the reconciliation in good faith, noting, “We will always need the security.”
He wants the relationship with the army to go as far back as it was before the outbreak of the Ebola virus, and commended the Chief of Staff for initiating the peace conference.
Speaking at the forum, which was also marked by a memorial service for the late Shaki Kamara, Pastor Philip George of the Church of Christ in West Point called on West Pointers to seek God’s face in whatever they do.
Pastor George reminded residents that no one is above the Government and urged the people of West Point to accept the reconciliation.
In another development, an official of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) has commended residents of the Township of West Point for their support to the team that renovated the Nathaniel Varney Massaquoi Elementary and Junior High School.
Lt./Colonel Kevin Koerner, Chief of Civil Military Coordination at UNMIL, noted, “In my view, the ones who most deserve credit for rebuilding, renovating, championing, restoring, and returning this school to the people of West Point are the people of West Point themselves”.
Speaking Friday at a program marking the dedication and turning over of the school, Koerner disclosed that the school was rebuilt through voluntary effort largely from people who reside in the community and wanted their school back.
He indicated that not one penny of the money donated by partners was spent to pay the men and women who labored during the 52 days the project lasted.
“As I stand here in a room full of partners with future projects, I offer my strongest endorsement as to the integrity, professionalism, and standards of DCF, the AFL soldiers who labored here alongside them, and the volunteer men and women associated with the renovation of N.V. Massaquoi School,”. Koerner said.
The UNMIL official pointed out that “this project taught all of us a lesson of what may be accomplished if willing hearts are handed the right resources.”
The N.V Massaquoi Elementary and Junior High School was used as a Withholding Center during the height of the Ebola outbreak.
The center was stormed by residents of the community who were protesting the establishment of the Withholding Center in the community. They reportedly made away with several items, including mattresses of Ebola patients during the height of the outbreak.
The school was renovated with funding from the Department of Children and Family (DCF), UNMIL, UNICEF, USAID, U.S. CDC, WHO, UNDP, Right to Play, Monrovia City Corporation, , Global Communities and Welt hungerhilfe, among others.