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Sierra Leone: Salone to Send More Troops to Somalia

Thursday, September 12, 2013

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Head of Public Relations and Communications in the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) has disclosedthat the government is poised to send another military contingent to Somalia in early 2014.

Col. M.M. Samura said the Ministry of Defence will soon commence the training of the second battalion that would replace the first one deployed in Somalia early this year. He was speaking in an interview with Concord Times on Monday at the Ministry of Defence in Freetown.

He said each contingent has a term of not more than a year, thus the first contingent would return home in early 2014 having completed their one-year mandate. According to Col.Samura, the Defence Ministry has never received any negative report about their troops deployed in the war ravaged country. "We are receiving positive news about our men out there. We have confidence inour commander on the ground," he said.

It could be recalled that early this year, President Ernest Bai Koroma - who isCommander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces - officially bade farewell to the 850 RSLAF troops currently deployed in Somalia under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

During that ceremony, the Minister of Defence,Rtd. Major Alfred Palo Conteh,noted that the Peace Mission Training Centre (PMTC) at Hastings has been expanded to provide training for battalions bound for peacekeeping mission in Somalia. The exercise is to commence early next year.

He said the deployment of troops on peace support operations is one of the performance contracts he signed with President Koromain 2009, disclosing that 10 officers are also serving as military observers, armed monitors and staff officers in Darfur.


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