-Endure weeklong queue outside BTC
As the recruitment of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) begins across the country, the exercise has attracted hundreds of young Liberian women who slept at the Barclay Training Center (BTC) several days before yesterday January 4, 2022 when the recruitment process finally started in Monrovia.
The recruitment exercise has attracted several young women between the ages of 19 to 23 who were seen very eager to be part of the Armed Forces of Liberia.
Critics says the massive turnout of young Liberians including females is a result of the current deteriorating economy in Liberia, and worsening security issues with an approximately 65% of its youthful population unemployed alongside increasing crimes in many parts of the country.
The Armed Forces of Liberia began the process of recruitment to enlist new officers into its ranks on November 22, 2021.
But Liberians both at home and abroad remain increasingly worried and concerned about the massive show of young Liberians coming out to be enlisted.
The ongoing recruitment exercise according to some is a classic example of how rebel forces recruited young Liberians during the dark days of Liberia’s civil crisis with devastating effects on the lives of young Liberians with many amputated and are now lingering on street corners of Liberia without former education or vocational skills.
Others are of the view that though the massive turnout at recruitment sites is good, yet it signals how vulnerable youths are in recruitments in Liberia for devilish action against the state if appropriate actions are not taken in accelerating economic viability across Liberia, for youthful job creation and skills training.
Our reporter, who has been visiting the Barclay Training Center Military Barrack since December 22, 2021, captures hundreds of young Liberians, mostly females laying on the floor along the fence of the BTC to catch a first glance into recruitment.
The scene at the recruitment exercise requires urgent focus on job creation and skills training for vulnerable youths if the peace enjoyed must be maintained.
In a press release from the Ministry of National Defense issued November 19, 2021, the Ministry stated that the military has begun recruitment of additional women and manpower.
The release noted that the additional women and manpower would include gender balance, with strong geographical consideration; one must be a Liberian citizen and at least High School graduate, with age range between 25 to 35 years.
The recruitment process began yesterday at the BTC and is expected to extend to other Military facilities in the various counties.
According to Assistant Defense Minister for Public Affairs, Sam Collins, the Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces of Liberia will not compromise the values and norms that the new AFL was built on, stressing that the recruitment drive is voluntary, and that those wanting to join the AFL will have to do so on merit.
The Assistant Defense Minister was quick to rally the support of the public in helping the AFL to recruit the best, by providing needed information on recruits with bad human rights records and other forms of bad behaviors.
Minister Collins said the public involvement in the recruitment process is cardinal to the professionalization of the Armed Force of Liberia.
Furthermore the release noted that the nationwide recruitment drive takes place in four geographical regions. The four geographical regions are Central Region, Western Region, Northern Region and South-Eastern Region.
The Central Region consists of Montserrado, Margibi and Grand Bassa counties with a recruitment center at the Barclay Training Center. Central Region recruitment will run from January 4 to February 5, 2022. The Western Region includes Grand Cape Mount, Bomi and Gbapolu counties with a recruitment center at Tubmanburg City. Western Region recruitment will run February 7 to 19, 2022. The Northern Region is made up of Lofa, Bong, and Nimba counties. The Gbarnga Sports Stadium is the recruitment center, and recruitment will run from February 21 to March 5, 2022.
The South-Eastern Region includes Grand Gedeh, River Gee, Maryland, Grand Kru, River Cess and Sinoe counties. South-Eastern Region recruitment center is the Zwedru Multilateral High School and recruitment will run from March 7 to March 19, 2022.
Liberian citizens wanting to be enlisted in the Armed Forces of Liberia must be cleared of any human rights abuses or violations, they must be a high school graduate or its vocational equivalent from a recognised vocational institution, they must be physically and medically fit, they must have a bachelor degree and above; they must be fully vaccinated against (COVID-19), they must have birth and health certificates and national identification cards such as national identification card, voter’s ID, or passport and bring along two passport size photos.