By Godfrey Olukya 4-6-2013
After several years of most African countries failing to honor their promises to send troops to fight for peace in Somalia, at last Sierra Leone has sent a force to the embattled country.
For over four years it was only troops from Uganda and Burundi fighting against Al-Shabab backed militants. Although many African countries had promised to send their troops, most of them did not do so.
Kenya joined the two countries after the militants started attacking their tourism. Later Djibouti and Ethiopia also sent in some troops. Now, after the situation has started normalizing in Somalia, Sierra Leone has also sent their some troops.
Troops from Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) were yesterday welcomed by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to the Mission Headquarters in Mogadishu. AMISOM force commander, Lieutenant general Andrew Gutti, Sierra Leone Contingent Commander, Colonel Mamadi Keita and senior AMISOM officers welcomed the troops off the plane at Mogadishu Airport before addressing them at a welcome parade.The Sierra Leoneans constitute AMISOM’s fifth contingent, after the Burundian, Djiboutian, Kenyan and Ugandan contingents.While welcoming the Sierra Leone troops to Somalia, AMISOM force commander, Lieutenant general Andrew Gutti said, ‘This deployment has now become a reality. You will be working alongside Somalis, Ugandans, Kenyans, Burundians and Djiboutians and also supported by Ethiopian forces and our partners. It’s a consolidated force and your presence here shows the spirit of Africa, you experienced your own problems and are now here; we are all African and here working together to stabilize Somalia.’
The Sierra Leone troops will be working alongside Kenyan troops in Sector 2 where AMISOM forces have made major gains in the fight against insurgents.
‘You will work in Lower and Middle Juba with the Kenyan Defense Force, going out and working to stabilize the area, I thank you and welcome you to the mission area and remind you that you are here to serve on behalf of your country and Africa, back home they expect great work from you.’ said Lieutenant General Gutti.