November 23, 2017
Brigadier Charlie Collins, Commander of the 7th Infantry Brigade, also known as the ‘Desert Rats’, recently finished a two -day visit to Sierra Leone. The Brigade is part of the British Army’s Adaptive Force that works with partner nations and developing states.
The Brigadier met with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (DCDS) and senior RSLAF officers, as well as UK government officials and British High Commissioner Guy Warrington.
The Brigadier also met with Lt. Gen. Mamadi Keita, DCDS to discuss the Brigades ongoing partnership with the Republic of Sierra Leone’s Armed Forces (RSLAF). In his meeting with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Gibril Sesay, the latter conveyed the high regard in which the UK is held by Sierra Leone, describing it as a ‘special relationship’.
Brigadier Collins visited the Armed Forces Training Centre at Benguema to see at first hand troops from the Queen’s Dragoon Guards who have been conducting training tasks with the RSLAF. The Queen’s Dragoon Guards currently have two other such projects running in Bo and Makeni. The Brigadier was impressed by the level of close co-operation and training between the UK training troops, led by Major Brian Nicholas QDG, and RSLAF troops.
Brigadier Collins said: “Clearly there remain some challenges and opportunities for the UK military and RSLAF, but overall the visit has been a success. I am particularly re-assured with the close relationship that the UK military enjoys with the RSLAF, especially that of ISAT (International Security and Advisory Team). I agree with Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Sesay that, it is a ‘special relationship’, one that will endure and flourish.
“At this time of remembrance, when we all take time to reflect and give thanks for the men and women of both countries who gave their lives for peace, we should remain focused and understand that peace is a desire of all of military from both countries and through co-operation and close working relations we hope to ensure continued progress and peace from the good people of Sierra Leone.”