Colonel Jean Attala appointed Chief of Staff of Seychelles Defence Forces
Attala was appointed by Seychelles' President Wavel Ramkalawan, the SDF Commander in Chief. (Seychelles Defence Forces)
The former Commander of the Seychelles Coast Guard, Colonel Jean Attala, has been appointed as the Chief of Staff of the Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF) in a ceremony at State House on Thursday.
Attala, who has served in the Seychelles military for a little over 30 years, was appointed by Seychelles' President Wavel Ramkalawan, the SDF Commander in Chief. He succeeds the now retired Colonel Simon Dine.
In his statement for the occasion, Ramkalawan said that "today for me is an emotional moment and at the same time a proud moment. For the last two years, we have worked together."
He congratulated all those present leading the Defence Forces for the way they have helped the SDF to become one that is professional.
"The officers who have been promoted are the men that the country depends on. We know the challenges and you have done the appropriate training and today each one of you is leading a branch of our military," he added.
Attala joined the then Seychelles Peoples Defence Forces in 1991 and attended an officer commissioning course at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst in 1996. He holds a masters in science in defence and strategic studies from the University of Madras.
Speaking to the press, Attala said that his aim is "continue what has been built upon here in the SDF and bring new ideas and ensure that the defence forces become more visible to the public so that they know who we are and our responsibilities for the country."
Attala said there will be more emphasis on the SCG's role due to Seychelles' vast maritime territories and because "most of our challenges take place at sea. It is only normal that the SCG is an important component in the defence and protection of Seychelles' borders."
Also promoted on Thursday was Lieutenant Colonel David Arrisol as Acting Commander of the Seychelles Coast Guard and four other officers were also promoted to higher ranks.
Attala said that "other branches will not be neglected, but we will rather work in synergy with the SCG, all the while complementing each other when performing our duties."
The Seychelles Coast Guard is the maritime arm of the Seychelles Defence Forces tasked with search and rescue, deterring maritime crime, and protecting the 1.4 million square kilometres of the island nation's exclusive economic zone.