Having progressed in its bid to restore peace in Somalia, the African Union approved the deployment of peacekeepers in the country under the umbrella of a transition mission known as the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) on 1st April, 2022.

The Mission consists of three components – civilian, military, and police. Prior to the deployment of any officer in these components, the AU utilizes the services of a team known as the African Union Selection Assistance and Assessment Team (SAAT) to conduct the selection.

The Sierra Leone Police has been deploying several officers as Individual Police Officers (IPOs) and Formed Police Unit (FPU) having successfully gone through this selection process to serve in the mission theater for a period not less than one year.

As the fifth contingent of Sierra Leone FPU continues their tour of duty, AU sent a five-man SAAT members to assess and select another set of Sierra Leone Police Officers to be deployed in Somila as IPOs.

The Team arrived in Freetown on Monday 22nd April, 2024, and commenced the assessment process the following day, having fulfilled all courtesy with the Inspector General of Police Mr. William Fayia Sellu in his office at Police Headquarters, George Street, Freetown.

Addressing the assessment Team during their visit to his office, Mr. Sellu presented a total of 222 officers to undergo the process after welcoming them to Sierra Leone.

As he closed, he presented sets of traditional attires designed with the Green-White-Blue national colours of Sierra Leone.

Briefing the IGP on the purpose of their visit to Sierra Leone, the team lead – ACP Lithakong Emmanuel Ntpaba relayed that the SAAT process includes Language Competency Assessment in reading and report writing exercises, Interview, Driving Competency assessment in vehicle handling and road safety exercises, Firearms Handling and Shooting assessment.

He continued that the assessment will last for four days (23rd – 26th April, 2024) after which, they will put ther report together before they depart the shores of Freetown.

The team was led by the Head of Peacekeeping – ACP John Fayia Tumbay to the Sierra Leone Peacekeeping and Law Enforcement Academy (SILEA) campus at Hastings, outside Freetown, where the assessment was conducted.

At the end of the assessment process, a total of 81 officers were certified as having met the AU requirements for deployment in the mission theatre.

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