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Armed Forces Day: Here are Facts about The Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces Everyone should know

by Frañkvin Bob McEwen
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Every year on February 18th Sierra Leoneans celebrates the Sierra Leone Armed Forces Day.

Armed Forces Day is a public holiday celebrated with military parades, ceremonies, and other events presided over by President Bio, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF).

Sierra Leone Armed Forces Day was established to commemorate the end of the civil war and the formation of the country’s armed forces in their current form. Former President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah declared the war was officially over in January 2002, and soon after the Sierra Leone Army united with the Air Force and the Navy to form the RSLAF.

Here are facts about the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF)

  • In January 2002 former President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah announced that the Sierra Leone Army (SLA) would be unified with the Sierra Leone Air Force and the moribund Sierra Leone Navy to form a reconstituted force known as the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF). 
  • The history of RSLAF began in 1961 after the country’s independence from the British when the Royal West African Frontier Force, which had garrisoned The Gambia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, was disbanded, and its Sierra Leone Battalion formed the basis of the national army of Sierra Leone. 
  • The Sierra Leone Navy was established in 1979, and the Sierra Leone Air Wing was formed in 1995.
  • The RSLAF is a professional army, meaning there is no conscription. It is supervised by the Sierra Leone Ministry of Defense and National Security.
  • The Sierra Leone Army is the largest branch of the country’s Armed Forces. It is tasked with protecting state borders, ensuring the security of administered territories, and defending the national interests of Sierra Leone within the framework of its international obligations. The Navy has about 500 personnel whose primary responsibility is to patrol the country’s naval borders. The Sierra Leone Air Force isn’t large either.
  • The RSLAF has a small budget they have a very limited amount of modern weaponry and all its arms used are second-hand imported from foreign countries. Their suppliers include China, Russia, and the United States.
  • The Ministry of Defence and National Security is in charge of supervising the military.

Sierra Leone’s new military chiefs take oath of office.
Photo Credit: State House Media

The Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) is responsible for the territorial security of Sierra Leone’s border and defending the national interests of Sierra Leone, within the framework of its international obligations.

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