The Deputy Chief of Defence Staff and military spokes person Brig Nelson Williams has disclosed that plans are currently on the way to downsized the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed forces.Making this disclosure to Awoko, during an exclusive interview, Brig Williams said that the military strength of the country can only work effectively when they have a sizable army that can be supported with training and equipments for effective and professional conduct.He added that the army had a military strength of 10,000 after the war, but taking into consideration the current peace that is prevailing in the country there is a need to down size the army, to seven thousand, so that the government can adequately release funds for the upkeep of the army. Brig Williams noted that the operation “Pebu project” started with some amount of bogus proposals to construct military barracks in major towns in the country, but it had been reviewed and they will only construct two barracks, one in Kailahun and the other in Pujehun. He intimated that the Teko Barracks in Makeni and Bengeuma barracks have been completely refurbished for military use and it was success story, but refurbishing or constructing many barracks will not help at all, because it takes a lot of resources and man power to effectively run the barracks. The army, he stressed, is currently receiving support from the British government and other partners and has achieved many commendations particularly during the 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections in collaboration with the police and prisons which he described as a move in the right direction to protect lives and properties.
He said that, there are numerous challenges faced by the army in the areas of infantry, navy and air wings as they lack adequate logistics and working equipments, due to the poor culture of maintainance.
By Saidu Bah