The Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (DCDS) Brigadier General Mamat O Cham on Monday 6 April 2020 briefed female soldiers of The Gambia Armed Forces who recently returned from the United Arab Emirates where they successfully completed a peacekeeping training package. The 14 female soldiers, who were led by Lieutenant Kumba Sarr, returned home on Friday 20 March 2020 in the middle of a nation-wide lockdown and closure of Banjul International Airport, as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic and were subjected to 14 days of quarantine at the Badala Hotel. The soldiers, who could not be received by their families and loved ones successfully went through the quarantine period which just ended with all of them testing negative for the virus, according to GAF and Ministry of Health sources.
Speaking to the soldiers at the Defence Headquarters to formally welcome them, on behalf of the Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Yakuba Drammeh, the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff reechoed the high hopes that the Gambia Armed Forces had in sending an all-female contingent to a far distant land for training. Brigadier General Mamat Cham expressed the delight of the GAF Command for the positive reports received from the hosts and organisers as regards the comportment of the soldiers in terms of discipline and overall performance in a terrain with cultural differences.
He went further to recognize the level of professionalism, discipline and the respect for the rule of law and WHO regulations the soldiers exhibited upon their return to the country as regarsd being quarantined for a period of 14 days. He extolled the exemplary manner in which they behaved noting that this lends credence to the realism in their training.
Brigadier General Cham assured that GAF would continue to accord equal opportunities in terms of training, welfare and appointment to female officers and soldiers while updating the returnees about the recent changes in the GAF Command, namely the appointment of a new Chief of Defence Staff. He stressed the need to continue from where the former Command stopped stressing that change and continuity is akin to military culture and called on them to be steadfast and loyal to the new Command.
The Deputy CDS further noted that despite the strenuous economic situation the country was facing, the government would still continue to do her best to maintain and equip the Armed Forces so that it fulfilled its roles and functions. He concluded by informing them of the decision to allow them to proceed on the usual disembarkation leave to be with their families and loved ones after the observance of the quarantine period.