Who's Who of the New UN Liberia  

TLC Africa.Com

ECOWAS Headquarters
A Nigerian peacekeeper is carried by a cheering crowd of Liberians.

Who are the Players?

  • President Joaquim Chissano, Chair of the African Union
  • President Alpha Oumar Konare, Chair of the Commission of the African Union
  • Mohammad Ibn Chambas, Executive Secretary of ECOWAS
  • President Olusegun Obasanjo, Federal Republic of Nigeria
  • Under Secretary-General Jacques Paul Klein, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Coordinator of United Nations Operations in Liberia
  • Ambassador Ahmedou Ould Abdallah, Special Representative for West Africa
  • Mr. Walter H. Kansteiner III, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
  • Dr. Jendayi Frazier, Senior Director for Africa, National Security Council
Organizations Involved in Peacekeeping Effort

In 1975, ECOWAS, Economic Community of West African States, undertook the difficult task of bringing economic and political unity to West Africa. One of its major goals was to bring together the economies of the mostly small nations, hoping the combined economic power would allow the countries to compete better than any one state could do on its own.

ECOWAS' primary objective remains to "promote co-operation and integration in order to create an economic and monetary union for encouraging economic growth and development in West Africa," according to the group's Web site. The group has taken several steps to accomplish this, moving to eliminate custom duties and similar taxes, establish a common external tariff and create a uniform monetary unit.

Members of ECOWAS include: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

The West African Regional block, has pledge an ECOWAS-led multinational force of 3,500 troops to the Liberian Peace Keeping effort.

Mohammed Ibn Chambas -  Executive Secretary of the West African regional bloc ECOWAS.  Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, a lawyer and political scientist, was born in Ghana on December 7, 1950.

He attended Mfantsipim School, Cape Coast and Government Secondary School, Tamale. He holds degrees in Political Science from University of Ghana, Legon, (B.A. 1973) and Cornell University Ithaca, New York (M.A. 1977, Ph D (1980). He has a law degree from Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. He was admitted to practice law in Ghana and the State of Ohio.

John Kufuor - Ghanaian President and ECOWAS chairman. John Kofi Agyekum Kufuor is 62. He went to Oxford University where he studied law, and earned a Masters degree in philosophy, political science and economics.

Nigeria - 300 Nigerian soldiers were the first wave of  peacekeepers to reach Liberia and they received a heroes' welcome from residents of the Liberian capital, Monrovia. Nigeria has committed a total of 1,500 soldiers to the Liberian Peacekeeping effort.

The Nigerian peacekeepers flew aboard U.N. helicopters and cargo planes to Roberts International Airport, about 40 miles [64 kilometers] outside Monrovia, to the glee of residents who braved a driving rainstorm.

Brigadier General Festus Okonkwo - The Commander of ECOWAS Vanguard Force, and the Nigerian force commander.
  • 1,500 troops from Nigeria
  • 250 from  Senegal
  • 250 from Mali
  • 250 from Benin
  • 95 soldiers from Ghana

Lt. Mike Owolabi, a Nigerian UN peacekeeper

Colonel Theophilus Tawiah - Chief-of-Staff of the West African peacekeeping force, Ecomil,  Tawiah is from Ghana.

The United States pledged $10m to fund the start of the peacekeeping operation in Liberia.

France promised to assist with logistics and more troops.

The United Nations UNMIL


Biographical Note  

interview: jacques klein

Jacques Klein of the United States - U.N. special envoy to Liberia -  In July 2003, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced the selection of Jacques Paul Klein as Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Coordinator of United Nations Operations in Liberia with the rank of Under-Secretary-General.

Mr. Klein was a career member of the Senior Foreign Service of the Department of State.  He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in history from Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois and has done post-graduate work in International Politics at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. 
Jacques Klein was a Senior U.S. member of Bosnia Peacekeeping Force.

Mark Kroeker

Mark Kroeker - UN Police Chief  will lead 1,000 foreign police officers in support of 15,000 peacekeepers enforcing a peace deal in the new United Nations police force. The former Portland police chief says his greatest challenge will be to ensure enough resources are available to equip and train a new local force.   Mr. Kroeker, 59, told the BBC's Network Africa that the UN was there to help build up the capacity of Liberians to do things themselves.

Kroeker's tenure in Portland was sometimes been rocky.  Activists criticized police handling of a May Day riot in downtown Portland in 2000, when hundreds of demonstrators clashed with nearly 100 officers, resulting in 20 arrests and 22 complaints of excessive police force.

Lieutenant General Daniel Ishmael Opande - of Kenya, the former Force Commander of the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), to head the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

Born on 18 August 1943. The 50 year old General Opande, is a graduate of the British Army Cadet School at Sandhurst, the British Army Staff College and the United States National Defence University, and a former director of the of Kenya’s National Defence College.

General Opande served as Deputy Force Commander with the United Nations Transitional Assistance Group in Namibia (UNTAG) in 1989-1990. He represented Kenya on the Mozambican peace process as a facilitator and negotiator between the Mozambique National Resistance (RENAMO) and the Government of Mozambique from 1990 to 1993, and served as Chief Military Officer of the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia from 1993 to 1995.

UNMIL  has about 4,500 troops out of its anticipated strength of 15,000 in Liberia. Most of these are deployed around Monrovia. The force however expects to achieve its full strength early next year.



The United Nations Security Council has decided to keep sanctions on Liberia, three months after the end of the devastating civil war there.

Sanctions cover

  • Diamonds
  • Arms,
  • Logging and some
  • Travel.
The Aid Agencies Liberians must thank for bringing Liberia's brutal Civil war and the  deplorable conditions of Liberians to International attention.

Human Rights Watch - Janet Fleischman - Washington Director for Africa wrote this letter to ECOWAS - ECOWAS: Troops to Liberia Must Respect Human Rights

Relief Organizations working in Liberia

The UN food agency, WFP

Human Rights Watch


Who's  Helping Out?
Who's Making it worse?