The African Union’s deputy Special Representative for Somalia Mr. Simon Mulongo has underscored the important role Sierra Leone is playing, in support of peace operations in the African continent.
Mr. Mulongo was speaking in his office today, at a meeting with the visiting Sierra Leonean Police Director of Peace and Support Operations, Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP) Gloria Tarawally.
Ms. Tarawally and Chief Superintendent Harold AMC Hanaley – the Sierra Leonean Police Head of Peacekeeping, are visiting Somalia, to assess the level of support accorded to AMISOM, by the country.
Currently, Sierra Leone has the largest police contingent in Somalia. Last April, the country deployed 160-police officers to Jubbaland State, to increase police interventions in newly recovered areas, in the Lower Juba region. The contingent also runs training and mentoring programmes for Jubbaland police officers.
“Thank you on behalf of the Mission, for not only giving us a force but also one that is fully equipped. The Contingent from Sierra Leone is among those rated highly and has been instrumental in restoring law and order in Jubbaland, training and mentoring the regional police to ensure that they can keep law and order,” Mulongo said.
He reiterated AMISOM’s successes in Somalia, that has enabled the restoration of statehood and significantly improved the security situation in the country.
AIGP Tarawally committed to Sierra Leone’s continued support to peacekeeping initiatives by the African Union. “It is good for us, as Africans, to do what we are doing here in Somalia. Despite the many challenges, it will go down in history, that as Africans, we came here and helped solve a problem on the African continent,” she remarked.
The delegation from Sierra Leone will meet various security actors and stakeholders during their visit. The West African country bears similarities with Somalia, as it also suffered a decade-long civil strife – between 1991 and 2002; until the intervention of regional governments, allied forces and the United Nations.