Sierra Leonean sends 850 soldiers to Somalia
Sierra Express Media
Thursday, March 28, 2013
The battalion, comprising 850
well-trained soldiers is tasked to support the operations of the African
Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Sierra Leone will join other soldiers from
Uganda, Kenya, Djibouti and Burundi.
The President, the Defense Minister, and
other senior military officers were among the emotionally-stricken
relatives bidding farewell as they were about to depart. The Hastings
Airfield became a scene of emotions as many wept seeing their loved-ones
depart. The departing soldiers were well-attired in their military
fatigues marching in a battle-ready mood.
According to the Chief of Defence Staff
Major Gen. S.O. Williams, the battalion is named LEOBATT 1 (Sierra Leone
Battalion 1) and is commanded by Lt. Col. AB Conteh. The CDS noted that
since the transformation of the RSLAF, this is the first time Sierra
Leone is making a contribution to a sister country in the Horn of
Africa. He continued that they have decided to undertake this mission as
a contribution to world peace and support to humanity.
The CDS went on that Sierra Leone
remains the only West Africa Country that already has military men in
the form of staff officers in AMISOM and for which every Sierra Leonean
should be proud, adding that Nigeria has made police unit contribution.
The president Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma
thanked the Ministry of Defense and the RSLAF for preparing the
battalion. He reminded the soldiers about the challenges ahead and
wished them good luck.
The president also thanked the US
government for providing the RSLAF with equipment like vehicles and
amour capability to facilitate the deployed the troops.