MONROVIA – A Staff Sergeant in the rebranded Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Hawa B. Sumo, is Liberia’s peacekeeping record-breaking first female military officer, Women Voice newspaper has reliably gathered.

According to military authorities in Monrovia, Liberia, Staff Sergeant Hawa, who returned to the country in March, as part of Liberia’s peacekeeping mission’s sixth contingent to Mali (LIBBATT 6), attained the fete by becoming the first female Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) driver in the desert.

An APC is a broad type of armoured, military vehicle designed to transport personnel and equipment in combat zones. They are sometimes referred to colloquially as “battle taxis” or “battle buses.”

According to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, an APC is defined as “an armoured combat vehicle which is designed and equipped to transport a combat infantry squad and which, as a rule, is armed with an integral or organic weapon of less than 20 millimetres calibre.”

Sergeant Hawa, a graduate of both the state-run University of Liberia and the church-operated private university, the United Methodist University, in the capital, Monrovia, is also the first female to have ever driven for a Chief of Staff of the AFL.

 Women Voices newspaper has learned that Sergeant Hawa is also the record-breaking first female to have ever served as driver to the country’s Minister of National Defense, a post she currently holds.

Hawa was among several Liberian peacekeepers that returned to the country in March, as part of Liberia’s contingent, LIBBATT 6, in MINUSMA, and were decorated on Friday,19 March 2021, during a colorful event at Camp Sandee Ware, for their services.

LIBBATT 6 is the 6th Liberian contingent which took part in the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali. The gallant men and women of the Liberian military returned home on the 8 March, and were placed on Post Deployment Training for two weeks in Camp Sandee Ware.

The training was geared toward destressing the soldiers following their return from the peacekeeping mission before being reunited with their families and the society. It was also intended to psychologically prepare the soldiers to return to normal mental activities.

At the close of their stay at Camp Sandee Ware, the soldiers including Sergeant Hawa, were decorated and congratulated for their services to Liberia and the people of Mali, with Army Chief of Staff, Brigidier General Prince C. Johnson saying at the time that he was grateful to members of LIBBATT-6 for their accomplishments, even though he, he was aware of their challenges while on the international peacekeeping mission.

Chief of Staff Johnson: “This is the first time that Campaign Medals are given to Liberian Contingent returning from mission; however, this will continue as Liberian Contingent returns upon completion of their Peacekeeping Mission. The Campaign Medals are given to soldiers who take part in military mission.”

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