Alhaji M. B. Jalloh: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 30 April 2020:
Sierra Leone has set a deadline for all its recalled diplomats who are still abroad to report at the Foreign Ministry in Freetwon on or before 31st July, 2020, according to a circular from the Office of the Director General, Mrs. Florence Bangalie. (Photo above: Foreign Minister – Nabeela Tunis).
The circular doesn’t say how the recalled diplomats will leave their posts for Freetown, as all flights to the country are suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. But a senior official at the ministry says: “We hope passenger flights will resume operation to Sierra Leone not too far from now, otherwise we will look out for a solution for their repatriation.”
The recalled diplomats include, Heads of Chancery, First and Second Secretaries who had served over four years at post in the United States, Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa.
He also disclosed that under the new Director General, an internal posting has been done at the Ministry, and all affected officers have been asked to collaborate with the Ministry for their respective schedule of duties.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Solomon Jamiru (Photo), who doubles as the Spokesman for the COVID – 19 Response Team, has urged all staffers at Sierra Leone Missions abroad to perform their duties with utmost caution.
“We are requesting all diplomatic and locally employed staff working in Sierra Leone Missions to strictly follow the COVID – 19 related health guidelines”, the Deputy Minister told me on the telephone line from Freetown last night.
His advice came few days after a British diplomat who had contracted the deadly coronavirus died in Hungary.
The British Foreign Office in London confirmed the death of Steven Dick, the Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Budapest a few days ago. It is unclear whether the Scot had any underlying health conditions.
Reports also say that some diplomats have also tested positive for the novel coronavirus in their respective Missions.
But Sierra Leone diplomats are safe and sound in their respective stations for now, another senior ministry official said.