More than 100 Sierra Leonean police officers stationed in Jubbaland were awarded medals for their exemplary contribution in securing the federal member state.
The 159 officers from the Formed Police Unit (FPU) were honoured by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) after completing their one-year tour of duty in Jubbaland State.
“The FPU contingent from Sierra Leone has given us a reason to celebrate because of their excellent and professional performance of their duties in Jubbaland State and helping AMISOM execute its mandate of securing Somalia,” said the Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (DSRCC) for Somalia, Simon Mulongo, during the ceremony held in Kismayo on Saturday.
Mr. Mulongo said the deployment of the contingent to Kismayo had laid a firm foundation for the transformation of Jubaland Police into a formidable force capable of protecting not only the federal member state but also Somalia.
The ceremony was attended by senior officials from AMISOM, United Nations and Jubaland administration, among them, the Acting AMISOM Police Commissioner, Rex Dundun; Jubaland State Deputy Security Minister, Isack Mohamed Hassan, and the head of United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) regional office in Kismayo, Magnus Bjarnason.
Mr. Dundun thanked the FPU contingent for working closely with the Jubaland administration in developing the capacity of Jubaland Police Force and protecting communities against insurgents.
The officers were deployed to Jubaland last year to provide operational support to Jubbaland State Police Force, secure communities and train local security officers among others.
The contingent, which is the first FPU from Sierra Leone, is part of the additional police officers authorized by the UN Security Council to be deployed in Somalia in its resolution 2372 of 2017.
The resolution sanctioned a minimum of 1,040 AMISOM Police personnel and five Formed Police Units to help Somalia establish a strong police force and bring back law and order in liberated areas.
The Acting Coordinator of AMISOM Police in Jubaland State, Akan Unaam, described the officers as hardworking men and women and urged the incoming team to emulate outgoing contingent.
His sentiments were echoed by Mr. Bjarnason, who said the unit performed their duties with distinction and in the interest of the local communities.
“You did an absolutely excellent job for the AU police, supporting the individual police officers and also the United Nations family, namely its agencies, funds, and programs,” the UNSOM official added.
The Director-General in Jubaland State Ministry of Security, Noor Shafe Abdullahi, thanked AMISOM for the sacrifice made in securing Somalia and urged development partners to continue supporting the country’s stabilization process to bring back lasting peace and security.
“We heartily appreciate our brothers in AMISOM especially the outgoing contingent. You gave us the best gift that a person can be given and that is shedding blood to stabilize our country” observed Mr. Abdullahi.