UN envoy welcomes new batch of Indian policewomen to Liberia

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United Nations, Feb 9 (UNI) UN envoy Ellen Margrethe Loj has welcomed a new group of female Indian police officers to the peacekeeping mission in Liberia, highlighting the impact of their presence on the women of the West African nation.

The newly-arrived team replaces the first all-female Formed Police Unit (FPU) from India, which returned home last month after serving for one year with the mission, known as UNMIL.

The presence of the all-female police unit in the country has inspired many women to join the Liberian National Police (LNP), observed Ms Loj, who took up her post as the Secretary-General's Special Representative and head of UNMIL in January.

''If anyone questioned the ability of women to do tough jobs, then those doubters have been (proven) wrong by the superb professional performance of the first batch of female Indian police peacekeepers in Liberia,'' she noted, according to information available at UN headquarters in New York yesterday.

The new group's duties will include patrols, rapid response assignment, crowd and riot control support for the LNP and the protection of UNMIL staff and properties.

The Special Representative also pointed out that FPUs are essential to help Liberia, which is seeking to rebuild after a devastating 14-year civil war, deal with possible civil unrest such as violent demonstrations and communal tensions.

India is the third largest troop contributing country to the UN, with police and military peacekeepers deployed worldwide under the blue flag. UNMIL currently has about 15,000 uniformed personnel, including over 1,100 police officers.

Some of the Indian peacekeepers served in turbulent areas, including parts of northern India.

The commander of the previous batch of Indian soldiers, Seema Dhundiya, noted her members' experience, saying, ''These girls are experienced and have been trained. They have worked in areas of India where there was insurgency. They will do a good job and the Liberian ladies will get motivated and inspired to come forward and join the regular police,'' according to earlier news reports.

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