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His Excellency the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), Brigadier General Retired Dr Julius Maada Bio in his capacity as the Reviewing Officer on Saturday 7 September 2019, commissioned Fifty-Seven (57) young female officers at the Armed Forces Training Center (AFTC), Benguema Barracks off Waterloo. Among those commissioned were, Thirty-Eight (38) infantry officers with Nineteen (19) specialist officers and Two Hundred and Sixty-Seven (267) young female soldiers into the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces.
The Reviewing Officer praised the efforts and inputs of officers and men of the RSLAF, for what he described as an excellent performance during the Commissioning Ceremony and Passing out Parade of Direct Entry all-female Officer Cadets and Recruits 2019.

During his address to the newly commissioned all-female young officers and soldiers of the RSLAF at the Armed Forces Training, he described the occasion as RSLAF "Women's Day". He showered truck load of praises to the gallant and brave newly commissioned young officers and passed out soldiers for their endurance and steadfastness in going through the thick and thin of the training process. He also called on them to put the country first before any personal gain or whatsoever as they have taken the oath of allegiance. "To you our new soldiers, you have just sworn into one of the finest military traditions and institutions, one that has shaped patriots; men and women who have fought and made the ultimate sacrifices for our nation in war and peace," he said. He further pointed out that these crop of Officer Cadets and Recruits have defied the idiosyncrasies and stereotyping against women. "What men can do, women can do even better," he affirmed. The Sierra Leone Government, he continued will always be committed in supporting the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces for as long as it is geared towards improving the standards of the force in a bid to match global trajectory.

Additionally, in his welcome address, the Commandant of the AFTC, Brigadier General AK Fefegula earlier on whole heartedly received and welcomed all those present and gave a brief background on the Training Objectives and Standards achieved during the all-female Officer Cadets and Recruits’ Training. Apart from Military related studies, the trainees were exposed to the principles of democracy and good governance, support to democratic values and some aspects of international humanitarian law.

He further disclosed that the training was not only intensive but demanding and that military training is never an easy task especially for women. It requires physical and mental capabilities to withstand the unimagined journey. He also expressed his satisfaction and joy to have sailed through with these hardworking and youthful Officer Cadets and Recruits successfully without any severe causality and fatality. He however noted that One (1) trainee was dismissed for failing a pregnancy test, One (1) Officer Cadet relegated to recruit and One (1) was returned to unit (RTU) due to poor performance.

The Commandant was therefore, appreciative over the support of the Government of Sierra Leone and his chain of command for successfully concluding a training of yet another batch of young all-female Officers and Soldiers in the RSLAF. He maintained that he has no doubt that these determined young women commissioning and passing out on this memorable day, having carefully gone through the rudiment of military training they will apply what they have learnt in their different areas of deployment for others to benefit and emulate. Also, with the powers vested in him by the CDS, he finally presented to His Excellency the president and commander-in chief of the RSLAF, a total of Three Hundred and Twenty-Four (324), well trained young women of the RSLAF readily available for the defence of our mother land.

Acting British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, Alistair White, noted that these female young Officers and Soldiers have really showed resilience and bravery in difficult few months and that, he was pleased to witness the commissioning ceremony and passing-out parade of the country's new female military Officer Cadets and Recruits. He highlighted that the military had been and will continue to be one of the many links between United Kingdom and Sierra Leone.

The colourful commissioned ceremony and passing out parade was also climaxed by the presentation of Awards to deserving Instructor, all round best Officer Cadet with Recruit and best firer for their outstanding performances during the course of training. Instructor Staff Sergeant Massaquoi, Officer Cadet Veronica Hawa Sao Davies, Recruit Kamara Mariatu and Recruit Mansaray Hannah were among the Award Recipients.

Furthermore, for any media query, please contact the following:

1. Group Captain John Gbondo
Director, Defence Public Relations and Information
Phone/WhatsApp: +232 76 750 557

2. lieutenant Colonel Ibrahim Bangura
Staff Officer Grade 1, Defence Public Relations and Information
Phone/WhatsApp: +232 78 252 625

3. Major Yayah Brima
Staff Officer Grade 2, Defence Public Relations and Information
Phone/WhatsApp: +232 78 452 876

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