President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, Commander-in–Chief of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF),  bade farewell to the first Sierra Leone battalion that  departed the shores for peacekeeping in Somalia.  (President  Ernest  Bai  Koroma with  the  countrys  troops  who  are  due  to  join  the  peacekeeping  mission  in  Somalia / Photo credit: Kemo Cham Nation Media Group)

The battalion, comprising 850 well-trained soldiers is tasked to support the operations of the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Sierra Leone will join other soldiers from Uganda, Kenya, Djibouti and Burundi.

The President, the Defense Minister, and other senior military officers were among the emotionally-stricken relatives bidding farewell as they were about to depart. The Hastings Airfield became a scene of emotions as many wept seeing their loved-ones depart. The departing soldiers were well-attired in their military fatigues marching in a battle-ready mood.