In a recent meeting held at the National Security Coordinator’s headquarters in Freetown, Mr. Abdulai Caulker, the National Security Coordinator (NSCoord) of Sierra Leone’s Office of National Security (ONS), provided assurance to the European Union (EU) Observer Mission that the country’s security sector is fully prepared to create an enabling environment for the upcoming general elections.
The meeting took place following a courtesy call by the EU Permanent Mission and the EU Elections Observer Mission to Sierra Leone.
During the meeting, the NSCoord welcomed the EU team and discussed the purpose of their visit. The EU Chief Observer expressed appreciation for the warm welcome and explained that their mission was invited by the Electoral Commission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to observe the forthcoming elections.
Updating the EU team on the current security situation in the country, the NSCoord stated that intelligence and security assessments indicate relative calm and tranquility across Sierra Leone. He outlined the preparations and activities of the Security Sector in ensuring the security of the elections.
The NSCoord highlighted the activation of the Integrated Elections Security Planning Committee (IESPC), coordinated by the ONS, which is responsible for the administration and coordination of security during the elections.
The IESPC has conducted district risk mappings, developed key election security documents, and assessed potential threats and hotspots. To enhance productivity, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has provided tablets to ONS Coordinators for reporting on election-related issues.
The NSCoord also mentioned engagements with decentralized security structures across the country, aimed at strengthening synergy among security sector agencies and assessing their preparedness to support the Electoral Commission. Incident Command Centers and Forward Control Points have been reactivated at provincial and district levels, respectively, to facilitate the operationalization of security information and intelligence, alongside the National Joint Operations Center.
To support information and intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination, the National Situation Room (NSR) and the IESPC secretariat have been activated. The NSR, operational 24/7 and staffed by officers from primary security forces, will serve as the central hub for information, while only the Electoral Commission and accredited radio/TV stations will be authorized to announce election results.
The EU Chief Observer expressed gratitude for the comprehensive briefing and emphasized that the EU’s mission in Sierra Leone is to support the electoral processes and promote democracy.
The EU team requested contact details of ONS Coordinators across Sierra Leone, which the NSCoord promised to provide urgently.
The Deputy Chief Observer, EU Elections Observer Mission in Sierra Leone, also thanked the ONS and the NSCoord for their assurance and briefing.
She requested information regarding hotspots or flashpoints that the mission should monitor during their duties, to which the NSCoord agreed to provide in subsequent engagements.
The meeting was attended by the Deputy National Security Coordinator, ONS, the EU Ambassador to Sierra Leone, EU legal and security analysts, and representatives from the ONS’s Strategic Communications & Spokesperson unit. Following the meeting, the EU team was given a tour of the NSR and IESPC secretariat.
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