February 1, 2017 By Mohamed Massaquoi
Spokesperson of the Ministry of Defense has told Concord Times in an exclusive interview that British troops were not recently in Sierra Leone to stop migrants from traveling to Europe but rather to provide hands- on- deck training to members of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF).
It could be recalled that the Sun Newspaper in the UK reported on January 7th,2017, that British troops have been sent to Sierra Leone to tackle movement of migrants to the UK and other parts of Europe.
But Brigadier –General Usman Turay debunked the said claim and stated that the former Minister of Defense, Maj. (Rtd) Palor Conteh, requested the British Minister of Armed Forces to consider the possibility of British forces to conduct combine exercise with RSLAF, which, he said started from November 1st to 4th December, 2016.
He said nearly 90 soldiers from 1st Queen’s Dragoons Guards’ ‘B’ Squadron deployed alongside 25 soldiers from the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces for a jungle exercise to learn the skills to live and fight.
He said the British Army engaged in a combined jungle warfare exercise at the Guma forest reserve, adding that the troops were exposed to a variety of conditions that challenged and tested their skills to ensure readiness for a wide spectrum of operations.
“Additionally, the jungle warfare school at Guma was renovated and made available for RSLAF future training,” he said, adding that at the end of the exercise the troops departed to the UK on the 5th of December, 2016.
Turay further stated that the British Defense Secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, commended the government of Sierra Leone for their compliment, adding that the training with Sierra Leonean forces was just the latest example of the UK stepping up globally to tackle international threats that put Britain at risk.