Darfur disaster : 3 Sierra Leonean peacekeepers killed in accident

Published on August 2, 2010 by Cocorioko News   ·   1 Comment


COCORIOKO has  now confirmed that three army  personnel of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF )  serving on  UNAMID ( the African Union/United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur ) , Sudan,  lost their lives yesterday in a road accident  at Nyala , the capital of South Darfur state in the western part of the Sudan. Three others were severely injured and are in intensive care.

According to reports received by COCORIOKO , the soldiers  were part of a unit  assigned to provide  armed security escort to the  UNAMID Deputy Joint Special Representative (DJSR), Mr Mohamed Yunis from Nyala International Airport to Sector  South of Nyala and the KALMA IDP Camp, where he was visiting  .  The unit  was under the command of SL 1247 Lt. S.M.Lebbie of the RSLAF . At an intersection leading to the UNAMID Headquarters at Sector South, a big truck collided with the lead escort vehicle carrying the Sierra Leonean peacekeepers.

The following  officers were killed : Lt SM Lebbie SL 1247 –RSLAF-FRU; RSLAF/18166941 Sgt  E. Koroma  and RSLAF/18177897 L/C A. Bangura – FRU.  The three officers critically injured and in intensive care are RSLAF/18170284 L/C Marah B- FRU, RSLAF/18171947 L/C Bangura A – 5Bde  and   RSLAF/18181242 L/C Momoh G – FRU.

The Minister of Defence , Maj. Palo Conteh, who was informed about the calamity in Nigeria,  where he is on  official duty , described the deaths as sad and  moving. He is believed to have briefed President Ernest Koroma about the disaster .

In New York, Sierra Leone’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Shekou Touray,  described the incident as shocking and unfortunate and expressed his deepest sympathies to the families of the officials killed and injured.

RSLAF officers  going on peacekeeping duty to Darfur deployed in early February this year with a strength of 160 soldiers, including officers and men. The  contingent is  based  in Nyala, Sudan, while the infantry elements have been launched into escort and patrols duties.

An advance party of RSLAF personnel left the Freetown international airport at Lungi on December 17, 2009 onboard a UN flight to do the ground work.

Apart from soldiers of the RSLAF , Sierra Leone has also deployed  63 Sierra Leonean Police personnel deployed in Darfur ,  12  of whom are women.

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