New Delhi: A squad of 125 Indian women police personnel far away in Liberia is elated as it finds itself sharing some bright moments after the announcement of Nobel Peace Prize last week.
The women, drawn from paramilitary CRPF, are deployed as special police officers under the UN to guard Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who has won the coveted prize along with two other women.
An elite squad of these AK-47 totting women personnel keep a round-the-clock vigil on the office of the President which also houses the West African nation's foreign affairs department in capital Monrovia.
"It is a proud and a very happy moment for us that the Nobel Peace Prize has been won by the Liberian President. The Indian women contingent was chosen to guard her and our camp and the women are ecstatic," Commander of the Indian Female Formed Police Unit (FFPU) Poonam Gupta said over phone from her camp office in Monrovia.
"The girls are extremely elated by this announcement and they have requested us to make arrangements to call on the President and greet her," Gupta, who took over from a previous
CRPF contingent in February this year, said.
"The President has visited us a few times and had also come to our camp early this year. The girls see her regularly going in and out for work but surely the Nobel Peace Prize has made them see her in a new light of respect and admiration," Gupta said.
Recounting their daily drill, Gupta said a small platoon of about 8-10 armed women personnel from the contingent keep a constant vigil of Sirleaf's office, where she spends her maximum time.
The personnel are armed with weapons like AK-47, INSAS rifles and Light Machine Guns (LMGs) to thwart any attempt of sabotage the vital infrastructure and its occupants.  "The platoon changes its post at regular intervals and about 30 girls are rotated in a day," Gupta said.
Sirleaf won the award along with her compatriot and peace warrior Leymah Gbowee and Yemen's Arab Spring activist Tawakkul Karman.
The 72-year-old President made history when she became Africa's first elected woman President in 2005, taking over a nation traumatised by 14 years of civil war that left 250,000 dead.
According to the UN, civil war in Liberia has claimed mostly civilian lives and it has led to a complete breakdown of law and order.
"The war displaced scores of people, both internally and beyond the borders, resulting in some 850,000 refugees in the neighbouring countries," a UN report on the African nation said.
The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) was established in 2003 to support the implementation of the ceasefire agreement and the peace process, protect UN staff and facilities and civilians, support humanitarian and human rights activities, as well as assist in national security reform.
India regularly sends its troops to UN peacekeeping missions and various contingents drawn from the Army, CRPF, ITBP and BSF are dispatched to various nations for rendering civil police duties.
The present CRPF women contingent in Liberia is the fifth since the first was sent in 2007. The women personnel sent on these duties are trained in special courses of unarmed combat, crowd control, human rights issues and security of VIPs.