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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sierra Leone troops’ deployment to Somalia delayed over Ebola fears

 (Daily Nation)- Deployment of a new contingent of Sierra Leonean soldiers to the AU Mission in Somalia (Amisom) is being delayed until it receives a medical report over Ebola.

On Wednesday, Amisom spokesman Eloi Yao said the mission has deferred the placement to avoid the risk of importing the Ebola virus into Somalia.
“Unless we are advised otherwise by our health experts, we cannot ignore the risk of Ebola. That is why the deployment of new Sierra Leonean soldiers has been put on hold. Our position remains the same since August,” Mr Yao told the Nation by phone.
Sierra Leone, one of the five countries contributing troops to Amisom, is also among the worst affected by the Ebola virus. At least 1,500 people have died after getting infected. About 800 Sierra Leonean soldiers were supposed to arrive in August to replace another battalion that has already served its term.
However, the rising cases of Ebola infections caused Amisom to postpone the redeployment. Mr Yao, though, argued the delay has not affected the strength of Amisom forces in combating Al-Shabaab.
“The mission has not really been affected. Of course the Sierra Leonean forces have already served their term, but I visited the camp and the morale was still high,” he added.
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