As part of its international assignment in peace support operations (PSO), the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) on Saturday 9th June 2012 dispatched 130 military personnel to Darfur, Sudan to replace their colleagues who returned to the country on the same day from Mogadishu.
Speaking to the press, the National Contingent Commander Lt. Col. Sullay Ibrahim Sesay, who is leading the troops to Darfur, said the selection process for serving personnel on peace support operations was selectively done on merit after close scrutiny based on the stipulated requirements.
He added that 171 military personnel were nominated for the trip but only 130 successfully went through the selection process after fulfilling specific conditions.
Lt. Col. Sesay maintained that based on the generic standards of International Peace Support Operations, the personnel went through vigorous regimental trainings for six months ranging from patrol, ambush and counter ambush, house clearing and close protection skills.
He also recalled that the RSLAF rejoined the UN Peace Support Operation (PSO) in 2007 with individual deployment to various United Nations and African Union peacekeeping missions and today, a whole battalion of the RSLAF has attained Peace Keeping Operations status.
Media officer attached to the Ministry of Defence, Maj. Samuel Moody, noted that the performance of RSLAF men has been exemplary in less than five years and rated high in terms of discipline, commitment and robustness to duty.
Maj. Moody said the ongoing event is going to be rotation of troops as each contingent is slated to spend six months tour of duty and therefore called on every Sierra Leonean to give support to the RSLAF by making better representation of their mother land. He pointed out that no single AMISOM personnel within the RSLAF has left the shores of Sierra Leone to serve in Somalia on Peace Support Operations as final preparation for their onward dispatch will soon be finalized.
However, in another development, the Acting Chief of Defence Staff, Brig. Gen. Samuel Omar Williams, has returned to the country after a two-week absence due to international engagements. The acting CDS also addressed the SRC 4 troop who just arrived in Sierra Leone.