Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – In a poignant ceremony held at Cockrill Military Barracks in Freetown, the 15 gallant soldiers who lost their lives during the failed attempted coup on November 26, 2023, were posthumously promoted as a tribute to their bravery and sacrifice.
The promotions were announced by Chief of Defence Staff Lieutenant General Peter K. Lavahun during the funeral, following approval from the Commander in Chief and senior members of Defence. The posthumous promotions ranged from Lieutenant Colonel to Colonel, Major to Lieutenant Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel to Colonel, Staff Sergeant to Class Two Officer, and Sergeant to Staff Sergeant.
Lt. General Lavahun emphasized that the attack on Sunday not only targeted the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) but struck at the heart of the entire nation. He stressed the need to recognize those who made the necessary sacrifice in defending and preserving the country’s democracy.
Among the promoted soldiers were Lieutenant Colonel Wilfred Sama, promoted to Colonel, Major John Robert Mboma, promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and Sergeant Thomas Rogers, promoted to Staff Sergeant.
In his statement, President Julius Maada Bio, who serves as the Commander in Chief, paid tribute to the fallen officers, emphasizing their steadfastness in the face of treachery. He acknowledged the 15 members of the RSLAF, 2 officers of the Sierra Leone Police, and a member of the Sierra Leone Correctional Service who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
The President addressed the gathered mourners, stating, “Today, we stand united in grief. We stand not just as mourners but as bearers of a sacred duty, a solemn responsibility, to honour our fallen comrades.” He condemned the cowardly acts that sought to subvert democracy and shatter trust in the nation.
President Bio reiterated the unwavering commitment, loyalty, and courage of the fallen officers, emphasizing that their sacrifice would forever be etched in the nation’s collective heart. He expressed the weight of the tragedy, pledging justice for the fallen heroes and vowing that those responsible for the cowardly act would face the full weight of the law.
Inspector General of the Sierra Leone Police, William Fayia Sellu, and Director General of the Sierra Leone Correctional Service, Colonel Sulaiman Sheikh Massaquoi, also paid solemn tributes on behalf of their respective institutions, honouring the fallen officers. MJB/7/12/2023