As Sierra Leone to Receive Stabilization Force… High-Level ECOWAS Mission to Evaluate Progress on ‘Agreement for National Unity’ Implementation

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By Amin Kef (Ranger)

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission has announced an upcoming Assessment Mission to Sierra Leone from June 4 to 7, 2024. This mission aims to evaluate the implementation status of the ‘Agreement for National Unity’ signed between the Government of Sierra Leone and the All Peoples Congress (APC) party on October 18, 2023.

The mission will be led by Her Excellency Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang, former Vice President of The Gambia and Joint Facilitator of the Mediated Dialogue process. Representatives from the African Union Commission (AUC), the United Nations Office in West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), and the Commonwealth of Nations will accompany her.

The delegation plans to consult with the Committee on Electoral Systems and Management Bodies Review, the Government of Sierra Leone, the APC party, and other moral guarantors of the Agreement, including the Independent Commission for Peace and National Cohesion (ICPNC), stakeholders, and the diplomatic community.

ECOWAS has requested the support of the Government of Sierra Leone to ensure the mission’s smooth conduct. The Commission extends its highest consideration to the High Commission of the Republic of Sierra Leone in Abuja.

In another development, the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) has confirmed the imminent deployment of an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Stabilization Force to enhance the nation’s security. The announcement, made by Colonel Issa Bangura, Director of Defence Public Relations and Information, indicates that the force will arrive in the coming weeks or months.

Colonel Bangura stated in an interview with AYV that a sizeable contingent of ECOWAS troops will be deployed to support Sierra Leone’s existing security apparatus. “ECOWAS has decided to deploy a sizeable force to support our security sector,” said Col. Bangura. “This will deter any attempts at unconstitutional power grabs.” The deployment aims to reinforce stability in light of recent riots, demonstrations, and a failed coup attempt.

This move follows the decision by ECOWAS leaders during their 64th Ordinary Session held in Abuja, Nigeria, where they condemned the November 26th coup attempt and called for justice through due process. The ECOWAS Commission was directed to support Sierra Leone and facilitate the deployment of a stabilization mission.

An ECOWAS delegation led by President Dr. Omar Alieu Touray had previously met with the Bio administration to discuss the deployment of a standby force. This confirmed deployment marks a significant step towards enhancing security in Sierra Leone.

The announcement also comes in the wake of remarks by President Dr. Julius Maada Bio, who accused certain politicians of spreading false information about another election and warned that any violent attempts would be met with force. The main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) party expressed deep concern over the President’s statement, describing it as incendiary and threatening.

As the situation unfolds, the international community and Sierra Leoneans alike watch closely, hopeful that the ECOWAS Stabilization Force will help maintain peace and security in the country.



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