Sierra Leone Military

Sierra Leone is a small West African nation located on the Atlantic coast. It has a population of around 7.9 million people as of 2020. Sierra Leone is an independent state and part of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) since 1975. The country has a military and defense force, including an army, navy, air force, and gendarmerie. Sierra Leone’s defense forces are responsible for protecting the country’s borders and providing security within its borders. The country also relies on regional organizations such as ECOWAS for defense. ECOWAS is a joint effort between 15 West African nations to provide security for its member states. It includes naval patrols in territorial waters, air surveillance, and various other security measures. In addition to this regional defense system, Sierra Leone also relies on its police force to maintain law and order within its borders. See naturegnosis to learn more about the country of Sierra Leone.


Civil war prevailed during the 1990s. The two parties (8,000 and 3,000 men, respectively) have been collaborating since May 1997, when a West African Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) Economic Community of West Africa came into being. This included, for example, Nigeria with 3,000 men and Guinea with 800 men. In October 1999, the UN was given a peacekeeping force in place (United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone, UNAMSIL). The war was declared ended in 2002 after all the irregular forces were disarmed.

Land area 71,740 km²
Total population 6,624,933
Residents per km² 92.3
Capital Freetown
Official language English
Income per capita 1,600 USD
Currency Sierra Leonean Leone
ISO 3166 code SL
Internet TLD .sl
License plate WHALE
Telephone code +232
Time zone UTC ± 0
Geographic coordinates 8 30 N, 11 30 W.
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The defense includes (2008) 10,500 people trained by UK staff and supervised by the United Nations (United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone, UNIOSIL) with observers from eleven countries. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that SLE stands for Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone Army

Defense costs increased in 1985-2006 from 1.1% to 1.7% of GDP. Sierra Leone participates in UN peacekeeping operations with observers in two countries.

The combined forces for Sierra Leone’s armed forces are 8500 active personnel (2018, IISS), all in the Army.


The army has four armored personnel vehicles and two helicopters. In addition, the Army has medium-heavy artillery and anti-aircraft artillery. A sea component has about 200 personnel and two patrol vessels.

International operations

Sierra Leone participated with observers and a small number of personnel in 2018 in UN operations in Lebanon (UNIFIL), in Mali (MINUSMA), in Somalia (UNSOM), and in Sudan (UNAMID and UNISFA).

Physical characteristics

The territory consists of an internal mountain area which reaches its maximum altitude in the Loma Mountains (1948 m) and which joins the coastal plain with a hilly strip crossed by numerous and wide valleys. The flat area widens for 100-150 km and is characterized by clayey and lateralized soils. Along the coast, marked by the engravings of the estuaries and bordered by numerous islands, there are large lagoons.

The difficult conditions of the tropical climate, characterized by very high temperatures and rainfall (maximum temperatures often reach 35 ° C, while the average monthly ones do not fall below 25 ° C; rainfall ranges from 4000 mm per year in the coastal strip to 1900-2500 mm per year of the internal one) delayed the colonization of the town, which was defined as ‘the tomb of the white man’.

The hydrography is characterized by short rivers, whose course is often accompanied by tunnel forests, with a course from NE to SW. Among the most important rivers are those that flow into the northern section of the coast, near Freetown, the only ones to allow, in the final part of the route, the access of ocean-going vessels. The Great Scarcies, which originates in the territory of Guinea and marks the border between the two states for a stretch, flows just N of the great Freetown estuary, formed by the Rokel, the only river in the country to be fully exploited for inland navigation. Of lesser importance, despite its length (272 km), is the Little Scarcies. The rivers of the southern section of the coast (Kittam, Sewa, Moa, Mano), due to the high quantity of river debris deposited near the mouths, prevent any form of penetration.