A contingent of 145 police officers from Sierra Leone arrived in Somalia yesterday as part of a surge capacity that will implement policing programmes in south central Somalia.

All the 145 officers from the Formed Police Unit (FPU), travelled to the port city of Kismayo to join an advance team of 15 officers who had arrived earlier.

This is Sierra Leone’s biggest police contingent to Somalia since it started deploying peacekeepers to the Horn of Africa country. The additional officers have been deployed in response to the United Nations Security Council Resolution adopted in 2017, which approved an increase to a maximum of 1,040, in the number of police officers serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The additional officers will start supporting their Somali counterparts in keeping law and order in the outstations of the Jubbaland Administration.

“Their coming is going to be a boost to the Jubbaland State Police Force. In 2016, we trained 600 police officers in Jubbaland and the Sierra Leone FPU will help them build and empower their policing operations,” Ms. Christine Alalo, the Acting AMISOM Police Commissioner, who received the contingent at the airport said.

She thanked the Sierra Leonean government for deploying the extra officers to Somalia to help with stabilization efforts. According to Alalo, the FPU officers will play a critical role in ensuring improved security in liberated areas.

The core duties of the police officers from the Formed Police Unit include; public order management, protection of facilities and support to police operations that require concerted response.

The arrival of the contingent is good news to AMISOM’s efforts to enhance the capacity of the Somali Police Force, as it will enable the Mission expand its operations in the Federal Member States.

AMISOM is committed to redoubling its efforts to train and recruit more police officers during the transition period as it prepares to hand over security responsibilities to the Somali security forces as stipulated in the UN Security Council Resolution.

“I want to welcome them to the Mission. We are very happy,” said the Deputy Police Commissioner, while noting that the police component still requires additional police officers in the Formed Police Unit to enable them perform tasks effectively. “We are moving away from Mogadishu. We are going into the regional states, deep into the districts and we need them because they will be helping us with movement and other operations,” Alalo noted.

Mustafa Solomon Kambeh, Contingent Commander of the Sierra Leone Police, expressed his country’s commitment to AMISOM and Somalia.

“We are here to fulfil AMISOM’s mandate, to ensure that we capacitate the Somali Police Force and (help them) execute their functions,” he said.