By Mabinty M Kamara
A 16-man delegation of security officials from The Gambia is in Sierra Leone on a learninig mission.
The visit, according to officials of the Office of National (ONS), is meant to share experiences with the Gambians as part of their effort in reforming their security sector.
Sierra Leone, the officials said, was chosen due to its experience as post conflict nation and the reformation of its security sector.
At the head of The Gambian delegation is said to be the National Security Adviser to President Adama Barrow.
Also included in the team is the Chief of Defense Staff of the Gambian army, permanent secretary on the Ministry of Interior, as well as the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Defense.
The visitors will be in Freetown from 7 to 12 September, during which period they will visit specific places in the security sector, including a tour in the provinces with the goal of learning from Sierra Leone’s experience in the decentralisation of the security sector.
Francis Langumba Keili, director at ONS, said the visit serves as a testament of the recognition of Sierra Leone for best practices in security reform mechanisms.
“It’s a high-powered delegation coming to learn from our peace building processes.
How we have gone this far to sustain the peace of the nation, how we blend our interagency security coordination, decentralisation of the security structure, the best practices that they can collect from Sierra Leone since they are currently on their security sector reforms and how they can democratise their security sector,” Keili told journalists at the weekly government press briefing on Thursday.
Keili noted that Sierra Leone’s security sector is people centered and not a regime protection system, as opposed to what obtains in other parts of the world.
He said this has been the envy for many countries, which has served as an attraction to a lot of researchers.
Sierra Leone has gone through two security reform programs after its civil war, and it has strengthened its primary security service institutions like the Sierra Leone Correctional Services, the Sierra Leone Police, and established post conflict institutions like the ONS for security service coordination and to entrench accountability.