The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), Brigadier General Samuel Omar Williams yesterday arrived in Mogadishu for a first-time visit to Somalia. He was received by the Force Commander and other senior officials from AMISOM, thereafter, the CDS had a working session with the Head of Mission Ambassador Mahamat Saleh Annadif.
The CDS was accompanied by representatives from the Sierra Leonean Ministry of Defence and the country’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
The purpose of the visit is for the CDS to acquaint himself with the command chain of AMISOM, where his country contributes a contingent. On the visit, the CDS will visit his troops on the ground, see the environment they operate in, and discuss areas of concern as well as how they can be resolved with the AMISOM leadership, to further enhance the relationship between his country and AMISOM.
The CDS today met with the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC), Ambassador Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the AMISOM Force Commander, Lieutenant General Silas Ntigurirwa, Deputy Force Commander in charge of Operations, Major General Godffrey Muheesi, and the Sector Commander of Sector Kismayo Brigadier General T.R Allieu where the RSLAF contingent is based.
The CDS expressed his admiration for the magnitude of progress the mission has registered in the peace and security atmosphere of Somalia, especially in reference to the recent Operation Eagle where ten towns were liberated from Al Shabaab, and restated his country’s commitment to supporting Somalia.
“Our country keeps up-to-date with all the activities of the mission through our Department of Peacekeeping Operations, but to see for oneself is most enlightening. I am impressed with the level of progress we have made as Africans supporting fellow Africans in Somalia, and I am proud that my country is a part of the contributors to this success,” he said.
In his address, the SRCC reiterated this saying that indeed the CDS’s presence in Somalia today is an immense morale boost to the troops of the Republic of Sierra Leone under AMISOM, and asked him to extend his thanks on behalf of AMISOM to the government and the people of Sierra Leone.
“Sierra Leone has greatly supported this mission to come this far, and we want the people of Sierra Leone to know that we as AMISOM are grateful for their sacrifice to the success of this mission. The troops are highly skilled and disciplined, and their country has lived and managed through a similar struggle, which gives us confidence that success will be achieved in Somalia too,” the Ambassador said.
Sierra Leone troops joined AMISOM in 2010, and are currently based in Sector Kismayo, along with Burundian and Kenyan troops.