Sierra Leone to send troops to Somalia in September
Sierra Leone will send troops to support the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amison) in September, a government official has said.
The country’s Defence minister Paulo Conteh said the troops were undergoing specialised training and that presently there were no Sierra Leonean soldiers in Somalia.
The minister was responding to recent reports attributed to the Somali media that Sierra Leonean soldiers had been killed in combat operations in Al-Shabaab infested country.
“…No Sierra Leone soldier has been deployed into Somalia and none of our personnel anywhere in the world has been killed in any fighting recently,” Major (rtd) Paulo Conteh told local media.
“No date has been fixed yet for their departure for Somalia. That is something I am working on with the United Nations Headquarters. It might be sometime in September,” the minister added.
About 850 Sierra Leonean troops are set to join the offensive against the fundamentalist group has been blamed for endangering peace in the horn of Africa.
In April, an Al-Shabaab commander reportedly warned Sierra Leone not to send troops to Somalia, threatening retaliatory moves.