Liberia military walk on the Monrovia bridge during a training excercise as the United Nations Mission in Liberia forces (UNMIL) finally hands back security to Liberia's military and police, in Monrovia on June 24, 2016. / AFP / ZOOM DOSSO
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A U.N. peacekeeping mission that was sent to Liberia in 2003 to restore order after two brutal civil wars withdrew on Thursday, beginning a new phase of self-reliance for the impoverished West African country.Liberia has relied heavily on the mission of 15,000 U.N. troops, known as UNMIL, which had been winding down for several months before control was officially handed over to domestic forces on Thursday.As of Friday, 1,240 U.N. military and 606 police personnel will remain on the ground, but will be there only in case of emergency.In June, Sirleaf was elected to head the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).As for its domestic policing, the UNMIL departure is symbolic for many who have grown used to its presence over the past 13 years. Some said that they would miss the U.N. forces, as a dwindling number of jeeps drove out of the military base in Monrovia.
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