The peacekeeping contingent from Sierra Leone to Somalia will be deployed to Kismayu town, 500km south of Mogadishu, an official said.
Colonel Ali Aden Hamud, the spokesman of the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), stated Thursday that the deployment of the 850 soldiers to the capital of the Lower Juba region would take place next week.
“A battalion from Sierra Leone that recently completed training in their country will join Amisom. They will be deployed to Kismayu,” said Col Hamud.
The spokesman disclosed that the West Africans would join troops from Kenya already serving with Amisom in southern Somalia.
About 4,000 Kenyan troops are based in strategic positions in Kismayu, including the town’s port and airport.
“The Sierra Leoneans will be airlifted within 48 hours,” said the officer who held a press conference in the Somali capital Mogadishu.
Reports from Sierra Leone confirmed that President Ernest Bai Koroma bid farewell on March 25 to the troops in what the leader called a ‘historic expedition to Somalia’.
Meanwhile, Col Hamud affirmed that Amisom was in the final stages in the execution of a plan to open the road link between Mogadishu and Baidoa town, 240 southwest of the city.
The peacekeepers had seized most of the major way linking the two cities from Al-Shabaab fighters, the hard-hitting militants opposing the pro-government forces.