Sierra Leone Telegraph: 8 February 2024:
A five-person team from the United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM) and the United States Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF) have completed a five-day assessment visit from January 29th to February 2nd, 2024, with the Sierra Leone Navy to support the development of its maritime security capability to fully control Sierra Leone’s Exclusive Economic Zone, according to a statement released today by the US Embassy in Freetown.
Explaining their mission and scope of assessment, the Team Lead Kevin Bryne of NAVAF noted that the focus of their assessment will be on Maritime Domain Awareness and Maritime Response for the Navy.
Co-Team member from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency forwarded to USAFRICOM, Benjamin McMullen emphasized the importance of strategy and doctrine development as part of the Institutional Capacity Building.
Briefing the visiting team, the Commander Navy, Commodore Philip Juana noted that the mission of the Sierra Leone Navy is to protect the territorial waters of Sierra Leone. However, with its limited capabilities, it’s a continuing challenge.
Commodore Juana highlighted the strategic aspiration of the Navy, which is to acquire optimal assets to effectively patrol, monitor and surveil the maritime borders for the enhancement of the blue economy, national and regional stability.
During their visit, the team engaged with the Deputy Minister of Defense Honorable retired Colonel Muana Massaquoi, Acting Chief of Defense Staff of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces Major General Dauda Alpha, the Commander Navy-Commodore Philip Juana and team, the Leader of Government Business in Parliament, and the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Defense.
In Parliament, the Leader of Government Business Honourable Matthew Nyuma expressed appreciation for the intervention by the visiting team and called for concrete and realistic support.
The chairman for the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Defense, Honourable Alex Mattia Rogers called for collaboration between the US Embassy and the Committee and reiterated that the Defense Committed is committed to the issues of maritime security and legislations around it.