The Armed Forces of Liberia was disbanded in its entirety after the war because the incoming government suspected that AFL soldiers were too loyal to the ousted leader and war criminal, Charles Taylor. Demobilized en masse, the soldiers received $540 US dollars and were told to wait for further reintegration support. 540 visits the squatter settlement that hundreds of these demobilized soldiers built on a swamp in Monrovia which they named Peace Island. They describe the bitter disappointments of their experience with military downsizing and ask what should happen when international promises are broken.

Runtime: 28:51 mins

Main Credits

Director/Producer                 Jaremey McMullin

Camera                                 Matthew Hyndman

Editor                                    Jamie Loggie

Research Assistance              Kennedy K. Berrian


Original Music

‘This Is Why They Call it 540’

Lyrics by                                   Leaders of the Peace Island 540

Music by                                   Moenue S. Harvey

Performed by                         Moenue S. Harvey

Recording Studio                 More Hits Records

Music supervision & facilitation by Kennedy K. Berrian



Why did the 540 call their settlement in Monrovia ‘Peace Island’?

What kind of place is Peace Island, and what do place and space have to do with security sector reform?

Demobilization is often associated with threat and insecurity. How do the narratives of the 540 in the film challenge these associations?

When do international obligations end after peacebuilding interventions? Who determines when international obligations end?



Joschka Philipps (2018) ‘The Urban Politics of Ruins: New Imaginations of Postmodern Monrovia,’ Postcolonial Studies, DOI: 10.1080/13688790.2018.1539207 [Book Review: Danny Hoffman (2017) Monrovia Modern: Urban Form and Political Imagination (Durham: Duke University Press).]

University of Liberia (2014) ‘Voices on the Liberian Security Sector and UNMIL’s Withdrawal,’ Policy Brief No.2, Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation, February.

Sukanya Podder (2013) ‘Bridging the ‘Conceptual-Contextual’ Divide: Security Sector Reform in Liberia and UNMIL Transition,’ Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 7:3, 353-380.

Morten Bøås and Karianne Stig (2010) ‘Security Sector Reform in Liberia: An Uneven Partnership without Local Ownership,’ Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 4:3, 285-303.



Security Sector Reform Think Tank, Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation, University of Liberia