159 Police Back to Sierra Leone

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SOMALIA, Mogadishu: In photograph taken 15 March 2013 and released by the African Union-United Nations Information Support Team, officers from the Sierra Leonean Contingent serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Individual Police Officers (IPO) unit march ahead of a medal parade at the AU Mission's headquarters in the Somali capital Mogadishu. 38 officers each received a 6-month Medal of Service today marking the mid-way point of their 1-year deployment to Somalia where they have been central in assisting the reforming restructuring, monitoring and mentoring of the Somali Police Force (SPF) as it begins rebuilding after two decades of conflict and instability in the Horn of Africa nation. AU-UN IST PHOTO STUART PRICE.

The Director of Community Affairs of the Sierra Leone Police (SLP), AIG Edward Kalia Sesay has told newsmen that the Sierra Leone Police have received one hundred and fifty-nine police officers who were part of the African Union (AU) peacekeeping mission in Somalia after their successful completion of a one-year assignment in Kishmayo. According to him, a total of 160 personnel were to return but that one of them was gravely sick.

The officers, according to AIG Kalia Sesay, were received by Head of Peacekeeping Missions, Ms. Gloria Davies and that they are currently residing at the Hastings Police Barracks on the outskirts of Freetown.

The police officers, he further disclosed, were decorated with medals as symbol of their outstanding performances whilst in Somalia, adding that the next planned mission is to deploy police personnel in the Somalia Capital Mogadishu. According to him, the first batch was deployed individually but that this time round, they would be deployed as a unit. Currently, he said, one hundred sixty police personnel are still deployed in Somalia adding that the returnees are currently receiving fresh lecturers from the Sierra Leone Police Academy on policing in order to capacitate them on the current trend of policing in the country having stayed away for a long time.

He assured pressmen that the withdrawn officers are safe and doing well, as he puts it “they went in one piece and returned in one piece.”

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Abu Bakarr Tarawally is a Journalist based in Freetown. He works for the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation as a radio producer. He has once served as Editor for a few newspapers in Freetown, including Sierra Express Media, The Exclusive Newspaper and his own newspaper, the Daily Express Publications. He is a teacher trainer, and loves writing and reading a lot. Email: abstarawally@gmail.com. Call +232 88601277 or +2327661303.

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