The Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) today Thursday 4th April 2019 conducted Farewell Parade for The Gambia Contingent 22 (Gamcoy 22) due to depart for their 1 year tour of duty in Darfur Sudan. The parade comprising of 132 personnel includes 16 officers, 14 females-1 officer and 13 other ranks, and 2 Medical Doctors all dressed in Combat Equipment Fighting Order during the ceremony at the McCarthy Square in Banjul. The main highlight was the handing over of the flag of the Republic of The Gambia (Battle Flag) to the Contingent Commander Lieutenant Colonel Yerro NA Jallow. The well attended event was also punctuated with a poem titled FAREWELL by Aminata Trawally a student of Bottrop Kinder Garten Senior Secondary School for the departing peacekeepers which includes her brother.
Giving the keynote address was Her Excellency the Vice President of the Republic of The Gambia Dr. Isatou Touray who deputized for the Commander-in-Chief (CIC) of GAF His Excellency President Adama Barrow following the remarks by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Lieutenant General Massaneh N Kinteh. In attendance were members of the Diplomatic and Counselor Corps, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (DCDS),, Secretary to Cabinet, Deputy Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defence. Others include GAF Service Chiefs, Directors,Military Advisers from the AU, Senior and Junior Officers and men, friends, family members as well as members of the media fraternity.
Speaking at the ceremony Lieutenant General Masanneh N Kinteh welcomed those present to bid farewell to the gallant men and women of Gamcoy 22. In his speech, he expressed his profound gratitude to His Excellency and the CIC of the GAF President Adama Barrow for his support and guidance to GAF which has led to a conducive environment for the Armed Forces to perform her duties and responsibilities in line with her constitutional mandate. He asserted that GAF contribution to peacekeeping mission would not have been possible without the government’s involvement. He added that this contingent is the 22nd Gambian contingent to be deployed to the trouble Sudanese region of Darfur since the mission started in 2004.
The CDS shared some historical perspective of the Gambia’s involvement in peacekeeping mission areas; citing that, the Gambia is one of the pioneer countries that form the peace and support mission in Darfur back in 2004 under the auspices of the AU. He added that the Mission was conceived and launched at a time when situations in Darfur were characterize as harsh and unpredictable. He said after the likes of Rwanda, the Gambia was the third country that sent in troops to the region and since then to date over 3700 members of GAF have served in this mission either in the capacity of Protection Force, Military Observers or as Staff Officers.
“The deployment to this mission is in line with the Gambia government’s policy that ensures that, the Armed Forces is made available to UN and other regional bodies for deployment to conflict zones as and when needed in order to attain the ultimate goals to achieving global peace,” he said.
CDS Kinteh used the platform to also thank the Commandant of GAF Training School for preparing the gallant men and women in uniform for the mission, and advised the troops to keep the flag of our Motherland high by doing away with any forms of misconduct as they would serve as ambassadors of the Gambia whilst in Sudan.
The Vice President Dr Isatou Touray on her part addressed the troops to avoid any form of illicit drug peddling and trafficking during their stay in Sudan as they would serve as the ambassadors of the Country. While wishing them safe journey to Sudan, she prayed for Allah’s guidance and protection throughout their tour of duty.