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Sierra Leone
Friday, May 20, 2022
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Koroma promises more goodies for sojas

By Alusine Sesay

“I have vowed to myself that I will spare no effort in ensuring our security forces live a better life. I have personally directed that a reasonable portion of our national resources be used for the wellbeing and operational effectiveness of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF). My intention for the next four years is to construct one battalion sized barracks each year with modern facilities,” says President Ernest Bai Koroma at a passing out ceremony last Friday of army officers at Benguema in the Western Rural.

He continued: “We are starting with the Eleventh Battalion in Kambia. All arrangements have been concluded for the commencement of work as soon as possible. In addition to this four-year plan, series of other contracts have been concluded to refurbish the existing barracks, including Benguema Barracks that can now boast of pipe-borne water and electricity from the national grid. Refurbishing and facelift works have commenced at the Gondama and Daru barracks. Daru Barracks will very soon have a modern hospital. Similar works will continue at Wilberforce and Lungi Barracks very soon.”

President Koroma noted that the Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) are the pride of the nation and that whenever he meets his counterparts at the UN, AU and ECOWAS, the gallant contribution of the RSLAF to peacekeeping operations [around the world] would invariably be on the agenda.

He said the RSLAF had answered calls of the global community to serve as peacekeepers and that they had deployed more than 2000 troops as staff officers, military observers and formed troops in Lebanon, Haiti, Nepal, Sudan, Somalia and Mali since 2006 for peacekeeping duties.

“Our soldiers are putting their lives on the line in other parts of the world. Not waging war but keeping the peace, ensuring the safety of others. I will not be surprised to see some of you here today being called up for peacekeeping duties in the not too distant future,” he said.

Koroma further noted that the training received and the skills acquired by the graduates at the training institution will be essential in executing their future military tasks.

“I cannot tell you what the next major operations will be. I cannot tell you where you will be deployed but I do know that you have been prepared to deal with the challenges you will face, in whatever form they come and from whatever quarter. You are the centrepiece of our national system of defence; you are beacons of duty, honour, and loyalty to the democratically constituted authority of our country,” he said.

As Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Koroma said: “I will do everything I can to support you and your families and to strengthen the military covenant that is the embodiment of the pact between our society and those who defend it through military service.”

He said the Assistant Chief of Defence Staff for Support and Logistics has just returned from Belgium where he concluded pre-shipping arrangements for various categories of military vehicles which are due in the country before the end of May this year. Each unit in the RSLAF, he said, will have brand new vehicles.

To the newly commissioned officers, the president said they were about to embark on one of the most unique and rewarding careers to be found anywhere.

“…the courage, self-discipline, integrity and leadership you display will be met with loyalty and respect by those you will command. Put your six months of endurance and pain into practice and go forth to uphold the high ideals forged through the years by your predecessors,” urged President Koroma. “It is not so much an occupation, but rather a calling to serve your country with dignity, pride and at heart.”

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