Head of Public Relations and Communications in the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) has disclosed that preparations for the deployment of a new battalion in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) are at an advanced stage.
The exercise is part of the rotation of troops serving in the war-torn Horn of Africa country. The rotation policy means 850 troops who are currently serving in AMISOM, deployed in the southern port city of Kismayo, will return home early next year.
Col. M.M. Samura, in a telephone interview with Concord Time yesterday, said the Ministry of Defence was ready and committed to train the new batch of gallant men and women to serve in Somalia.
He revealed that medical test for the personnel would commence next week, as a precursor to the pre-deployment training at the Peace Mission Training Centre at Hastings, which starts next month (November).
The facility got a facelift last year after military authorities chose it as the main training base for troops nominated to serve in peace support operations in Somalia.
The military spokesman said that as part of AMISOM's rotation policy, each batch spends a year, after which they should be replaced by another battalion. In line with that policy, he said the current LEOBATT deployed in Somalia would return home early next year after having completed their one year mandate.
Col. Samura noted that members of the Sierra Leonean contingent in AMISOM have been showered with encomiums for their professional diligence.
"We are receiving positive information about our men there. We have confidence in the commander there," he said, adding: "We hope the second contingent will also do their best."