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Gambian Troops on the march
Gambian Troops on the march

The Gambia is set to send 208 military personnel of the Gambia Armed Forces to the UN peace keeping mission in Darfur, Sudan.

The troop, Gamcoy 17 will serve 6 months in Darfur under the command of the United Nations. The personnel, including men and women, have completed their basic military peacekeeping training which includes driving, report writing and other security skills.

Addressing the officers and soldiers at the farewell parade on Friday 7th February 2014 at the July 22nd Square in Banjul on behalf of President Yahya Jammeh, The Gambia’s Vice President Aja Dr Isatou Njie Saidy remarked “the demand for Gambian peacekeepers today is more than what the country can supply, stressing that her government will do its best to ensure that Gambian troops are well-equipped despite limited resources before they depart for any mission”. She went further to admonish  the officers to uphold the professional ethics demanded by their work and avoid escalating trouble since their mission is to ensure peace and stability in Darfur. “You must also alert yourselves to the fact that you are going not only as peacekeepers but ambassadors of the Gambian. Consequently, your any action has a direct bearing to your countries image”, she concluded.

Also speaking at the ceremony was Major General Ousman Badjie, deputy Chief of Defence Staff, who reminded the soldiers that there role is a noble one. According to him, Darfur is one of the most difficult missions in terms of its complexity, with the independence of South Sudan further complicating matters.“Humanitarian aid agencies and peacekeepers are under daily threat because of rampant insecurity throughout the region,” he said, adding that the situation remains volatile, complex and tense and, therefore, presents significant challenges to peacekeepers. “You are going as a team, and are expected to serve collectively as a team. Be your brother’s and sister’s keeper and always listen to and consult with each other in your day to day pursuits, missions and other commitments,” Badjie advised the soldiers.

Darfur issued over 300 visas for the Gambian police contingent in 2013, in order to join other troops   who are serving UN Observer mission in the war torn North African region.

Currently more than 300 military and police personnel are returning to Banjul after successfully completing their one year and six months term on a peacekeeping mission in Darfur.

The AU-UN operation in Darfur is a joint peacekeeping mission formally approved by UN Security Council Resolution 1769 on July 31, 2007, to bring stability to the region of Sudan.