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Mendes now lead Sierra Leone Army... As allegations of tribalism in military prove untrue
By Aruna Turay & Augustine Samba
Jun 7, 2013, 17:20
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The Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) is highly constituted of fine, gallant and professional military officers from the South-East of the country with Mende and Sherbro origins to the extent that the number one and number two positions are currently held by South-Easterners. Many in local populace are therefore shocked over recent attempts by sections of the local and international media (particularly Kenyas NATION MEDIA GROUP) attempting to give a false tribal and regional flavor to the recent decision to retire some officers from the army. The Kenyan article against the President of Sierra Leone written by one Kemo Cham is particularly galling to many Sierra Leoneans who view it as seditious and libelous.

Whilst opposition operatives are insisting in their newspaper tabloids that Brigadier Komba Mondeh and others were retired because they belong to the Mende and other ethnic groups from the South/East, the facts remain that from all indications, the current government and President Koroma still has one hundred percent trust in officers who hail from that part of the country.

Confident and Highly Effective President Decorates a South-Easterner to be his Head of the Army last year. Major-General S.O. Williams hails from Bonthe.

Evidently, the two senior most positions in RSLAF, Chief of Defence Staff and Deputy Chief of Defence Staff, are occupied by officers of Mende and Sherbro origin from the South-East.


Brigadier General Samuel Omarr Williams is the Chief of Defence Staff and he is a Mende/Sherbro from the Bonthe district in the opposition dominated Southern Province. He was appointed by President Koroma last year to replace a northerner named Robert Koroma (See Page 3). His Deputy and Number 2 man in the military hierarchy is Brigadier John Edison Milton who is also a Mende from the opposition heartland of Moyamba District. Milton replaced Brigadier Sesay, a Northerner, who was retired from position of Deputy CDS last week at the same time as Mondeh and others.


What this means is that the two most senior officers in the current Sierra Leone Armed Forces are South-Eastern Mendes with no tribal and/or regional lineage to President Koroma.

Brigadier John Edison Milton is a Mende man who is the newly promoted Deputy Chief of Defence Staff. He was last week promoted by the Commander-In-Chief, H.E. Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma. He hails from Moyamba and Bo; born of a Mende mother and a Mende father.

In an interview with the newly promoted and appointed Deputy Chief of Defence Staff at his Joint Force Command Office at Cockerill Headquarters on Wilkinson Road in Freetown on Thursday 6th June 2013, he confirmed that he was born in a small village called Nyamiana inside Moyambas Mano Dasse chiefdom by a Mende woman from Mano Dasse and a Mende father from Serabu, Bumpeh chiefdom in Bo district, along the highway to Bonthe. He is a trained communications specialist.


Brigadier Milton was quite relaxed and confident as he debunked the allegations of tribalism on the part of the Commander In Chief, H.E. Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.


The newly promoted Brigadier expressed gratitude for his elevation to the current position of Deputy CDS during the recent promotions.

Speaking of his prowess, Brigadier Militon explained that he has proven his merit both on the field of promoting the image of the military through communication tools as well as on the battlefield. He said upon the restoration of normalcy after the tumultuous period of civil strife in the country, he was appointed as Head of the Media in the army by the then British IMATT deployment in the country.

According to him, this was a trying period for the force as there was a need to restore the forces dented image in the minds of the public.

He narrated how he succeeded via radio and television talk show and newspaper publications to repair the then dented image.


Milton was later promoted to the rank of a Lieutenant Colonel and appointed to head the 2nd Battalion in Kenema at the time.

He spent approximately two years as command head in Daru before being appointed Military Assistant (MA) to the then Deputy Minister of Defence, Joe C. Blell, a position he served until he was sent to Ghanas Senior Division Staff College.


He was in Ghana for a year and returned to Sierra Leone and took up an appointment at Benguma Armed Forces Training Center as the Commandant before being transferred to the Freetown Garrison as Brigade Commander for two years.


Thereafter, he was moved to the Ministry of Defence where he served as the acting Director of Military Operations and also doubling as Director of Public Relations and Information for close to a year and half. He later relinquished the position of Director of Military Operations and held on to Director of Public Relations and Information.


The gallant officer was later sent to the Defence College in Nigeria where he performed exceptionally and became the best foreign student to graduate from the college that year.


Since he joined the military in 1985 after undergoing military training in Sandhurst, the Royal Military Academy in Britain and graduated as a Staff Officer, Milton has served in various sectors of the army as commander and has commanded successful military operations including the famous Operation Ranger Storm that was geared towards rescuing the abducted British soldiers by the rebels during the war.

Prior to his appointment as Deputy Chief of Defence Staff, Brigadier Milton was the Joint Force Commander in the RSLAF, a position he has held for close to a year now.


The fine gentleman is married to a beautiful wife, Mrs. Zainab Milton and they are blessed with three children, two boys and a girl. He has vowed to serve in his new office diligently and be loyal and faithful to Sierra Leones Commander-In-Chief, His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.


All the above revelations explain why opposition elements will never justify the tribal and regional sentiments they are attempting to sell in the retirement of officers found wanton of professional misconduct.
It is clear to see that no Mende or South/Easterner was sacked to be replaced with a Temne from the north but rather it was the other way around. Under President Koroma, a Northerner was replaced by a South-Easterner for position of Chief of Defence Staff and again under President Koroma, a Northerner has been replaced by a Mende South-Easterner in to position of Deputy Chief of Defence Staff.

Dr. Sylvia Blyden, the Special Executive Assistant to President Koroma has meanwhile told Awareness Times that going by the dangerous trends in the opposition media, the government would have to sanitise the media through the use of the Public Order Act of 1965.

We cannot have this country slip back into chaos because of unwarranted stoking of negative tribal sentiments and hate speech in our polity. If it means forcing journalists to defend in court what they publish, then so be it. We will do it, Blyden ended.


President Koroma Decorates New Army Chief
First published in July of 2012 last year

By State House Communications

The Commander-In-Chief of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has on Tuesday 31st July 2012 decorated the new Chief of Defence Staff of the RSLAF with the rank of Major General, at the Presidential Lodge, Hill Station.

Making a statement shortly after decorating Major General Samuel Omaru Williams, President Koroma congratulated the new CDS on his elevation to take over the RSLAF at a very important and crucial period on the eve of the elections.

It is your responsibility to maintain high moral in the RSLAF. You have the task of ensuring that the RSLAF conducts itself in a professional manner during and after the elections slated for November this year, President Koroma said, and went on to note that there are few challenges the new CDS needs to address that will make a difference in the RSLAF.


Delivering the vote of thanks, newly decorated Major General S. O. Williams profusely thanked the Commander-In-Chief for the confidence reposed in him, and assured the President, Government and people of Sierra Leone to do everything within his power to live up to expectations. 

I am ready to protect the sovereignty of
my country and make sure that the RSLAF will live up to the task, he vowed, and also registered his heartfelt appreciation to the CIC as well as the Minister of Defence, Rtd. Major Paolo Conteh for recommending him for the highest rank in the countrys armed forces.

In his declaration of purpose, the Minister of Defence said that Major General S.O. Williams had successfully gone through the parliamentary appointments committee since his nomination in June by His Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Koroma. Rtd. Major Paolo Conteh expressed hope that with over thirty years of military experience, Major General Williams will continue to professionalize the RSLAF as the nation approaches the November 17th general elections.
The new Army Chief hails from Southern Sierra Leone.

He is married with children

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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