Sierra Leone on Thursday bade farewell to 160 troops which will depart Freetown on Sunday, April 14, for Somalia.The men and women constitute the second contingent of the reform peacekeeping operation system since Sierra Leone began participating in international peacekeeping, officials said.
Superintendent John Tumbay, Head of the Department of Peacekeeping at the Sierra Leone Police (SLP), said until now the country had been sending individual police officers in peacekeeping operations.
He said the new system now means they will be deploying ‘Formed Police Unit,’ which comprises a contingent of armed personnel with medical units, including nurses and doctors and the use of armored vehicles.
Sierra Leonean police officers are currently deployed in three security hotspots: 22 in Darfur as part of the United Nations and African Union Hybrid Operation – UNAMID; 12 in South Sudan under UNMISS; and a total of 192 officers, including 33 individual officers in Somalia under the African Union mission called AMISOM.
The new contingent which is set to depart this Sunday will be replacing the 159 troops who are expected back home on April 17, after serving a year in the restive Horn of Africa country.