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Sierra Leone’s Military Chief attends MOCC meeting in Addis Ababa

By Abdul Karim Koroma, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - Friday 12 April 2013.

Major General Samuel Omar Williams, Chief of Defence Staff of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces attended the 9th Military Operations Coordination Committee (MOCC) meeting organized by the Department of Peace and Security of the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa on 10th April, 2013.

Assistant Inspector General of Police and Director of Human Resource Management and Peacekeeping Operations in the Sierra Leone Police, Mr. Kalia Sesay also attended the meeting.

The meeting aimed at providing an opportunity to exchange views on the current situation and challenges at hand and agreed on the best way forward for Troop and Police Contributing Countries (TCCs/PCCs) to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and other interested countries.

The 9th MOCC meeting took place ahead of the Somalia Conference which will be held in London on 7th May 2013.

Major General Williams in his brief contribution spoke about AMISOM’s stagnated and inadequate troop level, adding that some countries are yet to honour their pledges in contributing troops to AMISOM.

The Military Chief pointed out that there is an urgent need to capacitate the Somalia National Forces (SNF) in order to take on Al-Shabaab (the militant group), a subsidiary of Al-Qaeda.

In his remarks, Ambassador Ramtane Lamamra, African Union’s Commissioner for Peace and Security said there is now an improvement in the overall security situation in Somalia.

He said that Sierra Leone was the fifth military contingent to contribute troops to AMISOM, adding that other African Union member states are now having increasing interest in AMISOM.

Lieutenant General Andrew Gutti, the AMISOM Force Commander gave a detailed update on the security situation in Somalia.

He spoke about the successes so far registered by AMISOM and Al-Shabaab has lost a lot of territories to his troops.

Lieutenant General Gutti further said that the recent deployment of the Sierra Leonean contingent brought excitement but stressed however that Kismayo still remains a serious concern to AMISOM.

The meeting was also attended by Ambassador Andrew Bangali, Sierra Leone’s Envoy to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Mr. Christopher Bockarie, Second Secretary of the Embassy of the Republic of Sierra Leone in Addis Ababa.

Meanwhile, on 11th April 2013, Ambassador Bangali who also doubles as the Vice Dean of the Group of ECOWAS Ambassadors’ attended the Group’s monthly meeting held at the residence of the Ghanaian Ambassador.

The topic which topped the agenda of the meeting was the preparation for the 50th Anniversary of the OAU/AU.

The ECOWAS meeting was also attended by Mrs. Juliana Fallah, First Secretary of the Embassy of the Republic of Sierra Leone in Addis Ababa.

Photo, left to right: Major-General Samuel Williams, Ambassador Bangali and Mr. Kalia Sesay.