Former Chief of Defense Staff Samuel Omar Williams was shot dead inside his home in Devil Hole village near the capital Freetown early Thursday morning, police said.
According to police Commander al-Sheik Kamara, unidentified gunmen had opened fire at Williams inside his own bedroom.
He said a police probe was ongoing.
Williams was among the first Sierra Leonean officers to benefit from an upgrade in the ranks in the armed forces when he was promoted from the rank of maj.-gen. to first lt.-gen. by President Ernest Koroma in July last year.
He was said to be one of the few loyal militarymen that backed the former government of President Tejan Kabbah, which was repeatedly overthrown in the late 90s by other factions of the military and the Revolutionary United Front RUF rebels.
Several young military officers have described him as a true military professional whose contribution to ending Sierra Leone’s rebel war is said to be “exemplary”.