Since 2002, 18th February has been set aside as a national public holiday in order to celebrate and appreciate our Armed Forces and heroes who fought in the second world war and those who fought in over a decade of civil war in Sierra Leone in the 1990s.

The Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) is responsible for the territorial security of Sierra Leone’s border and defending the national interests of Sierra Leone, within the framework of its international obligations.

On the 18th of February 2002, the late former president Alhaji Dr. Ahmed Tejan Kabbah declared in his solemn voice in Krio that the “war don don” – “the war is over” and that henceforth, 18th of February shall be a national public holiday in commemoration of the fearless efforts of the country’s Armed Forces in the various wars to uphold peace and democracy.

The history of RSLAF began in 1961 after the country’s independence from the British when the Royal West African Frontier Force, which had garrisoned The Gambia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, was disbanded, and its Sierra Leone Battalion formed the basis of the national army of Sierra Leone.

The RSLAF has a small budget with a very limited amount of modern weaponry and all its arms used are second-hand imported from foreign countries. Their suppliers include China, Russia, and the United States. The Ministry of Defence and National Security is in charge of supervising the military.

Armed Forces Day is a public holiday celebrated with military parades, ceremonies, and other events presided over by President Bio, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF).