Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Sierra Leonean chief of defense staff visits Kismayu.

KISMAYU, Somalia June 2 - Sierra Leone’s top military chief Brigadier General Samuel Omar Williams on Monday visited Kismayu for the first time to pay a courtesy call to AMISOM peacekeepers based there including his own Sierra Leonian forces which together with Kenyan and Burundian forces make up the three contingents stationed in the strategic Somalia southern port city of Kismayu.

After meeting various continents serving in Kismayu under AMISOM, the General was hosted to a sumptuous lunch at the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) at the main airport, UNMAS brifed him on the work and support to AMISOM and later they had an opportunity to present to the General their latest Sierra Leonean trainee bomb squad unit taught how to handle and dispose off improvised explosive devices, other unexploded ordnances and as well some soldiers taught to as sniffer dog handlers.

General Williams spent the night with his Sierra Leonean soldier’s stationed at the beach front old Kismayu airport AMISOM base along the main road to Somalia’s capital city Mogadishu which they which they collocate with the Kenya Defense Forces.

Ordinary soldiers and officers from Sierra Leone had a rare opportunity to freely meet and speak to their chief after he addressed dozens of the forces at a hilltop building surrounded by green mountains with acacia trees on one side and on the other side overlooking a splendid view of the massive the Indian Ocean.

On his second day the General paid a courtesy call to the Interim Juba Administration leader Ahmed Mohamed at State House Kismayu. The interim Juba is a federal state within Somalia that brings together 3 regions names Lower Juba, Middle Juba and Gedo.

“It is my pleasure to be in Kismayu for the first time. Am grateful to the cordial welcome the people of Kismayu have accorded me and my fellow Sierra Leonean forces serving here under AMISOM. We want to tell the Somalis that it our honor to take part in this noble African mission helping Somalia find its feet,” General Williams told the Somali leader.

The two leaders held a closed door meeting and discussed bilateral issues mainly focusing on security situation in Kismayu and the entire Somalia. President Ahmed thanked Sierra Leone for their selfless contribution with the pan African Union AMISOM mission in Somalia.

“Our common enemy Al-Shabaab, which is an international terror network, has been very much weakened thanked to our own Somalia forces and AMISOM peacekeepers fighting alongside us. In Kismayu, the enemy no longer enjoys the public support because of their inhuman treatment of the people. They are like fish removed from the water. They are getting irrelevant by each passing day. We thank Sierra Leone for sacrificing their own sweat and blood for Somalia to get peace,” Mohamed said.

Before flying to Dhobley for the last leg of his three days working visit to Somalia, Brigadier General Samuel Omar Williams, the Chief Defense Staff of Sierra Leone observed that AMISOM mission is progressing well and thanked all the soldiers and personnel involved in the peacekeeping operation.
“I first congratulate AMISOM as a force and then also wish to thank my Sierra Leonean force for their contribution to AMISOM. To the people of Somalia, we wish to remind them we in Sierra Leone had our own experience of war and the solution to the end of this civil war here lies in the hand of the Somali people. They should give their support to the mission and collaborate with AMISOM and at the end of the day we will all succeed and celebrate,” the General said, before flying out of Kismayu.