President of Sierra Leone graces International Day of UN peacekeepers at Hpss, Nairobi

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The President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, H.E Brigadier General (Rtd) Dr Julius Maada Wonie Bio, who is in Kenya for an official visit on 29 May 2022, graced the International Day of the UN Peacekeepers at Humanitarian Peace Support School (HPSS) in Embakasi, Nairobi.

At the event, President Brigadier General (Rtd) Dr Maada Wonie expressed his appreciation for the opportunity that the International Day of UN Peacekeepers afforded the world to remember and celebrate the acts of valour and sacrifice and, most importantly, the coming together of nations in support of each other to achieve peace and progress.

The occasion saw the commemoration of the 1998 to 2005 United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL).

"I'd like to take this opportunity to personally say thank you, especially to the Kenya Defence Forces and the brave men and women deployed in Sierra Leone in service to our nation. The history of Sierra Leone would be incomplete without mentioning your valour and sacrifice," he noted.

The President further lauded H.E Hon Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces, and the people of the Republic of Kenya for their great contribution to attaining the broader vision of the African Union Agenda 2063 of working towards "An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa driven by its own citizens, representing a dynamic force in the international arena."

"I see Kenya's contributions to international peacekeeping through that lens, and we are very much grateful for the continental leadership," he added.

Kenya's Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary, Ambassador Rachael Omamo, praised the UN's efforts in forging lasting partnerships between nations in Africa over its long history and especially mentioned how, due to its intervention in Sierra Leone, Kenya got to play a vital role that eventually led to the cultivation of a strong bond between the two countries that also led to Sierra Leone joining Kenya in the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

"Often, we talk about peace, progress and partnerships, and we do so mostly in vague and abstract terms. But today, we have witnessed that partnership, that journey between people that needed to be taken to realise peace and progress," she said.

Chief of Defence Forces General Robert Kibochi, who served in Sierra Leone as a peacekeeper, appreciated the great comradeship that Kenya and Sierra Leone have shared over the years, noting that both countries have been united in their commitment to global peace and security.

Further, he noted that Kenya committed over 2,963 men and women as part of the UN mission in Sierra Leone, "Together with Sierra Leoneans, we managed to disarm and reintegrate thousands. This laid the necessary foundation for achieving peace and security in the country. Today, we are all proud of the great strides that your Government has made to sustain and consolidate peace in the country," said the CDF.

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