News / Africa

Sierra Leone Committed to West Africa Stability, says President

Sierra Leone's president Ernest Bai Koroma waves to supporters after voting in the capital Freetown, November 17, 2012.Sierra Leone's president Ernest Bai Koroma waves to supporters after voting in the capital Freetown, November 17, 2012.
x
Sierra Leone's president Ernest Bai Koroma waves to supporters after voting in the capital Freetown, November 17, 2012.
Sierra Leone's president Ernest Bai Koroma waves to supporters after voting in the capital Freetown, November 17, 2012.
Peter Clottey
Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma says West African regional leaders have been working together to ensure regional stability and economic growth.

"We have to continue the tradition of providing a sub-regional group that is very cohesive, that is focused on deepening democracy, that will open up the region to the people to benefit from the potentials of the region, and that will also secure the region," said President Koroma.

In an interview with VOA, Koroma says the leaders have unanimously taken a zero tolerance stance against the violent overthrow of democratically elected governments in the region.

"We have taken tough stance against military coups. We have taken tough stance against incursions and we believe that nobody should get to leadership or power other than [through] the ballot box," said Koroma.

"For countries that have shown manifestation of a change of government other than the democratic process, we have taken the stance to ensure that we reverse the situation," he said. "Countries that had difficulties after elections, we have remained engaged like we had in Ivory Coast [and] like we are doing in Guinea Bissau. We are working with the sub-region in addressing the issue of Guinea Bissau."

Some analysts have raised concern about the security and political situation in some West African countries, including Guinea Bissau, Guinea and recently Mali.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) recently asked for international support to battle Islamic rebels in northern Mali, where the insurgents controlled parts of the north and implemented Sharia law. 

Koroma says Sierra Leone is actively involved in efforts by ECOWAS and the international community to restore constitutional order in Mali after peace and security is restored.

"We have committed ourselves to deploy troops, and the troops are now fighting alongside with the Malians and the French to ensure that we restore normalcy in Mali," said Koroma.

Guinea Bissau has suffered from increasing political instability and regional experts say it has become a trans-shipment point for South American cocaine headed to markets in Europe. Some experts have said the drug trade is threatening security throughout the West Africa region.          

President Koroma says Sierra Leone is working with other countries in the region to combat those threats.

“We have taken individual national actions,” he said. “We need international support because it is an internationally coordinated transaction. We have asked for our developmental partners -- the British, the Americans -- to work with us. It’s not an easy fight but substantial efforts are being made to coordinate that fight and we will continue with that engagement.”

Sierra Leone recently deployed about 850 troops to be part of an African Union mission to help stabilize Somalia. But, critics say the soldiers are needed back home to prevent possible violence, since they contend Sierra Leone is still recovering from the civil war that ended in 2002.

“It is a commitment we made and I think for us it is like payback time,” Koroma said. “Now if we have gotten to a point wherein we have transformed our country from a warring country to a country that is moving on in development and growth, there is a need for us to support other countries who are now in the position that we were in some years back.”

Clottey interview with Ernest Bai Koroma, Sierra Leone President
Clottey interview with Ernest Bai Koroma, Sierra Leone Presidenti
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs