PRESS STATEMENT

Freetown, February 26th 2014: We, leaders of specific youth groups operating within Sierra Leone hip hop music industry, gather today to issue out this press statement in which we want the world to know that we:

1. Are appreciative of the efforts of our President, His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, in rebranding Sierra Leone and making it an attractive destination for foreign direct investment into Africa.

2. Are further appreciative of love and care our President has been consistently showing over welfare of Sierra Leone youths to the extent of appointing a capable Presidential Youth Aide.

3. Wish to assure H.E. the President and people of Sierra Leone that the least that we, as youths, can do in return of the ongoing admirable show of leadership of the President, is to respect and uphold the peace in the land. Sustainable peace will enable development and prosperity agenda.

4. Have seen mails sent to the manager of Jamaican musician, BUSY SIGNAL which allege unfortunate threats and which have been widely circulated on social media Whatsapp and Facebook.

5. Wish to denounce in its entirety, the threats from these anonymous writers claiming membership of the RED FLAG MOVEMENT (R.F.M.) supposedly in support of our Sierra Leone artist, LAJ.

6. In particular, on behalf of the entire R.F.M. and LAJ the musician, the Manager, Mr. Asheim Sesay and the entire management team are distancing themselves from the illegal threats.

7. Furthermore, the President Alusine Kamara, Secretary-General Gerrard Jalloh and the entire executive and members of the R.F.M. Fan Clubs are distancing themselves from the illegal threats.

8. Have held an international phone call with Mr. KAO DENERO during which we have assured him that all the youths of Sierra Leone are looking forward to welcoming both KAO DENERO and BUSY SIGNAL to Sierra Leone.

9. Members of the RFM and LAJ Fan Clubs, in light of our strong denials of knowledge about these internet threats, hereby assure that if invited by KAO DENERO to join him, are willing to collaborate with KAO DENERO and the BLACK LEO record label to ensure visit of BUSY SIGNAL turns out to be one of the most peaceful and prosperous visits of a musician in entire History of Sierra Leone.

10. KAO DENERO has, during the phone call, warmly welcomed the offer of R.F.M. to collaborate with him to ensure the visit of BUSY SIGNAL turns out most successfully.

Signed by:

Asheim Sesay

Manager, R.F.M./LAJ

Signed by:

Alusine Kamara (aka Ozil Jalloh)

President, R.F.M/LAJ Fan Clubs

Signed by:

Gerrard Jalloh

Sec-Gen, R.F.M/LAJ Fan Clubs

Guaranteed by:

Phylip Tholley (aka GUNSHOT)

Chairman, Youth Awareness for Peace & Development

Guaranteed by:

Shawn Carter

Sec-Gen, Youth Awareness for Peace & Development

Guaranteed by:

Ibrahim Kamara (aka SHINE)

Vice Chairman, Youth Awareness for Peace & Development

Guaranteed by:

Alhaji Kamara (aka BODY&SOUL;)

PRO-I, Youth Awareness for Peace & Development

Guaranteed by:

Mohamed Koroma (aka TIMBERLAND)

PRO-II, Youth Awareness for Peace & Development

Guaranteed by:

Sulaiman Gomez (BEENIEMAN)

Chief Whip, Youth Awareness for Peace & Development

ALL SIGNATURES ABOVE DONE IN THE PRESENCE OF:

________________________________

Bai Mahmoud Bangura

Presidential Youth Aide at State House

INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT BY THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL OF THE AFRICAN UNION FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY 2017, H.E. PRESIDENT DR. ERNEST BAI KOROMA ON THE ACTIVITIES OF THE PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL AND THE STATE OF PEACE AND SECURITY

IN AFRICA INCLUDING THE MASTER ROADMAP COMPRISING PRACTICAL STEPS TO SILENCE THE GUNS IN AFRICA BY THE YEAR 2020. PRESENTED ON THE OCCASION OF THE 28TH ORDINARY SESSION OF THE AU ASSEMBLY, ON 30 JANUARY 2017, IN ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA.

The Chairperson of the Union: My Brother President Alpha Conde

Excellences, colleague Heads of States and Government;

The Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission,

Honorable Ministers

Commissioners

Invited Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen

Please accept my warmest greetings and best wishes for 2017!

I would first of all like to take to pay tribute to our men and women who have and continue to pay the ultimate price for the maintenance of peace and security on the continent.

Three years from now, in 2020, guns should be silent in Africa; this is the commitment we have undertaken on behalf of our people who continue to endure violence and abuse; who are being internally displaced or forced to flee their homelands; and it is the pledge we have made to create the enabling environment for our economies to thrive. This will remain the cornerstone in fulfilling our aspirations not to bequeath conflict to the next generation.

Since our last Assembly Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, we identified, outlined and dealt with various crisis situations on the continent in fulfillment of our mandate. In this regard, the Peace and Security Council remained seized of the situations in Burundi, the Central Africa Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Libya, Mali/Sahel, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan. All our efforts to maintain peace and security in these situations have been consistent with the determination we expressed in the OAU/AU 50th Anniversary Solemn Declaration that we adopted on 25th May 2013, in Addis Ababa.

Excellences,

Following the adoption of the Solemn Declaration, we have led several initiatives to provide practical guidance in actualizing our commitment to the grand Agenda 2020. These include devoting the 430th Meeting of the PSC as an Open Session on the theme: “Silencing the Guns: Pre-requisites for Realizing a Conflict-Free Africa by the Year 2020”. This Meeting underscored the importance of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and called for its full implementation, particularly the African Standby Force and its Rapid Deployment Capability.

Mindful of the time exigency relating to Agenda 2020, the PSC determined that urgent action is needed if we are to achieve this ambitious but principled and attainable goal that we have set for ourselves. It is within this context that the PSC convened the Retreat on the theme: Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by Year 2020, from 7 to 9 November 2016, in Lusaka, Zambia.

The Retreat identified fourteen major scourges that continue to affect our continent; most notably:

• The persistence of terrorist activities;

• The illicit inflow, proliferation and circulation of arms and weapons;

• The illicit financial flows that continue to weaken our economies; and

• Our lack of decisive strategic dialogue with the international community, including the UN system, on global policies and practices negatively impacting on Africa and its people.

These major scourges have now been put into a Draft AU Master Roadmap comprising Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by Year 2020 – and referred to as the Lusaka 2016 Master Roadmap.

This Master Roadmap is premised on the principle that Africa should assume total responsibility and full ownership and control over its peace and security agenda. Additionally, it is realistic and places greater emphasis on implementation, monitoring and evaluation of our collective efforts towards to the attainment of the objective of silencing the Guns by 2020. The Master Roadmap is being submitted to this Assembly for endorsement for the immediate commencement of its implementation. The details will be elaborated by the Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergui.

While we remain mindful of the ambitious but attainable goals outlined in the OAU/AU 50th Anniversary Solemn Declaration, the PSC is certain that, with the collective will, determination and selfless efforts of all AU Member States, we shall succeed in silencing the guns in Africa by the year 2020. I therefore call on all of us, brothers and sisters, to invoke the African spirit of solidarity, which guided our actions during the anti-colonial struggle, to marshal the necessary political will and material resources to actualize our dream of a conflict free and prosperous Africa by 2020.

I would like on behalf of the Peace and Security Council and the entire Union to express our profound condolence to the Government and People of the Republic of Kenya over the recent attacks on their forces serving in AMISOM. I wish a speedy recovery for those injured during the attack.

May I now take this opportunity to present to you the Lusaka 2016 Master Roadmap, and the draft decisions for consideration and adoption.

I thank you for your kind attention.

ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT ON THE OCCASION OF THE ARMED FORCES WEEK ON SATURDAY 18 FEBRUARY 2017 AT THE HOCKEY PITCH-WILBERFORCE BARRACKS

The Armed Forces Day has become a spectacular hallmark of Sierra Leone’s national calendar; it has become part of our history and our heritage.

It is a day we have set aside to reflect on the role of our military in global peace, it’s a day we have chosen to remember and to celebrate the gallantry of our men and women in uniform. We do this for good reason; your relentless sacrifice is legendary and remains the centerpiece of the peace we continue to enjoy today. This is why as your Commander-in-Chief; I always look forward to this special day to address the troops of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF).

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, the story of our armed forces has been bittersweet – long and tedious – characterized by low and high moments. But in the recent past, the RSLAF has gone through tremendous transformations; especially in the areas of training, operation and discipline, resulting in its current high standards of professionalism. Sierra Leoneans can now be proud of a military that is disciplined, well trained and democratically accountable. Both as Staff Officers and Formed Troops, our men and women in uniform continue to excel in Peace Support Operations; contributing in no small measure to the international efforts in bringing peace to the peoples of Sudan, Somalia, Mali, Haiti, Lebanon and Nepal.

Our officers are serving in various AU/UN Missions around the world and to further enhance their professionalism and owing to the demand for their services; I have put at the disposal of the UN two infantry battalions. My Government and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) are working assiduously to make this happen within the shortest possible time. Plans are far advanced in the acquisition of major equipment, uniforms and other logistics. I am confident that RSLAF will create the desired impact expected of a professional force.

RSLAF is also contributing to national development. I have just returned from commissioning a new hospital complex and a primary school built by the Army Engineers in Daru in the Eastern Region. With these initiatives, the RSLAF is demonstrating strong leadership and foresight. With the construction of schools; they are ensuring a continuum of the current standards and by building new hospitals; our military is aligning to our national development agenda, particularly our aspiration to strengthen our health system. I encourage you to do more in this laudable direction.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, these efforts clearly resonate with the substance of the performance contract signed with the Deputy Minister and the Chief of Defense Staff. The Joint Medical Unit; the Engineer Regiment; the Armed Forces Agricultural Unit; the Peace Support Operations, accommodation and welfare of troops are amongst my directives highlighted as deserving paramount and appropriate attention and I am heartened by the actions being taken so far. The Army Engineers have also demonstrated their determination and capacity by transforming this Hockey Pitch to a more comfortable venue. Work will soon start on the Phase One of the Kambia Barracks Project this year. Phase Two of Gondama will be completed this year as well as the Wilberforce Barracks project and more barracks accommodation will be provided in due course.

Lots of training opportunities are also now open to members of the RSLAF across all ranks. To narrow the gender gap in the Military, the MOD is insisting on equal opportunity for women to be enlisted both as officers and other ranks and to be able to compete with their male counterparts. I am informed that the French language has been included in not only the recruitment training package but has also been extended to all internal trainings and short courses. This is a laudable effort and will undoubtedly enhance your professional interaction as you go on Global Peace Keeping operations.

No doubt, a great deal of energy, commitment and resources have been invested in this great transformation. And your outstanding performance here at home and abroad has strengthened your popularity with the general populace. I urge you to keep it up, especially as we gradually approach the general elections period. As a professional force, you must be guided against complacency and any dishonorable acts that will soil your good image so ably cultivated. You must refrain from any acts that will bring back bitter memories; and you must insist on those great principles of service and the shining examples of a disciplined and patriotic force which you have so admirably and consistently demonstrated during previous elections.

As we commemorate this 8th Armed Forces Day, let me once again assure you that my Government will continue to capacitate the RSLAF to meet your welfare needs, to meet international standards and the growing demands relating to national peace and security.

Finally, I applaud you for the wonderful display by the Reconnaissance Unit, the Martial Arts team and the Armed Forces Regimental Band.Thank you all for being part of this memorable celebration.

God bless RSLAF and God bless Sierra Leone!