In Sierra Leone – IMATT to ISAT
The International Military Training and Advisory Team Sierra Leone (IMATT) formally ends its mission in Sierra Leone on 31 March, 2013. Its successor, the International Security Advisory Team Sierra Leone (ISAT) formally begins its mission on 1 April, 2013.
IMATT has provided training, support and advice to the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) for nearly 13 years. During this period, the RSLAF has reorganised itself into a professional and capable military force that focuses on external threats and peacekeeping operations in Africa, and is widely respected within Sierra Leone. The forthcoming deployment of the RSLAF battalion on peacekeeping operations in Somalia is further evidence of this growing capability.
National elections in November 2012, the third set of democratic elections in Sierra Leone since the end of the Civil War in 2002, marked a defining moment for the international community’s support to the RSLAF. The conduct of the elections set the conditions for IMATT to draw down and to transition into ISAT.
ISAT will have a much broader remit across the whole security sector and a growing role within the sub-region. It will continue to advise and support the RSLAF but will also provide advice and support to the other agencies within the security sector – the Sierra Leone Police, the Office of National Security, the National Fire Force, the Prisons Department, the Immigration Office, the Joint Maritime Committee and others. ISAT will also work closely with existing DFID and UNDP programmes in support of the Justice Sector.
The transition of IMATT to ISAT marks a further and very significant milestone in the development of the RSLAF. It is also a positive demonstration of the enduring and evolving contribution of the international community to the development of Sierra Leone’s security and prosperity and, over time, that of the Mano River Union region.
Rick Shearn, Second Secretary Political, British High Commission Freetown, Sierra Leone
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