Sierra Leone security chiefs replaced ahead of poll

Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma has replaced the heads of army and police in a major security sector shakeup.

Major General Brima Sesay has been named new Chief of Defence Staff, replacing Lt. Gen John Milton, who has been deployed to the diplomatic mission as deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria.

Police chief Francis Munu was replaced by his deputy Richard Moigbe. Mr Munu was named as new ambassador to neighbouring Liberia.

Attend a summit

The second in commands in both the military and police were also replaced, while appointments were also made in the national intelligence agency and in the Office of National Security.

The changes were announced on Wednesday, just hours after the president flew out of the country to attend a summit in Cote d'Ivoire.

Back home, questions were being asked why the major changes, less than four months to a General Election.

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Security has taken a centre stage in the run up to the March 7, 2018 polls, amidst threats of violence by rival supporters, especially those of the governing All People's Congress Party (APC) and the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP).

Last week, the sacked Inspector General of Police indicated in a widely publicised statement that the security force needed at least $1.7 million (Le13 billion) to oversee the polls.

Mr Munu's sacking has been welcomed by the SLPP supporters, who accused him of bias towards the APC, a charge he has constantly denied.

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