The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Major General Yakuba A Drammeh on Tuesday 28 July 2020 assured the European Union Ambassador, His Excellency Attila Lajos of the Gambia Armed Forces’ (GAF) commitment to the implementation of the Security Sector Reform (SSR) project. The CDS made these remarks during a meeting with the EU ambassador at his office in Bakau as part of his efforts in reaching out to strategic partners of the GAF since assuming office in March 2020.
In welcoming the CDS and delegation, His Excellency Attila Lajos congratulated General Drammeh on his appointment and wished him a successful stint as the Chief of Defence Staff of GAF. The ambassador noted that the expectations are very high from average Gambians after the appointment of General Drammeh especially in the implementation of the SSR project, which the Ambassador admitted he is confident that the CDS has the ability and willingness to implement. He indicated his conviction that the potential and commitment has always been there on the part of the GAF to get things started while assuring the CDS of EU’s support in implementing the security reforms.
For his part, Major General Yakuba Abdourahman Drammeh thanked Ambassador Attila Lajos for the warm reception and the exemplary support through the transition. The CDS indicated that the purpose of his visit is to thank the European Union for the support they are providing for the reforms of the security services. He also stated the need to build on the gains registered in the past while admitting that expectations are very high from average Gambians especially in the implementation of the SSR. He assured the Ambassador of his commitment in achieving the much needed reforms of the Armed Forces to make it a Peoples’ Armed Forces that would fulfill its constitutional mandate and other assigned roles to the admiration of Gambians and non-Gambians. He expressed his conviction that with the support of his principal staff officers, government and international partners, he is hopeful that he would succeed. He went further to assure the EU Ambassador of the readiness of the GAF to implement the SSR while briefing the Ambassador on the tasks being undertaken currently to that end. The CDS informed the ambassador about the review of policies and legal frameworks of the GAF such as the Terms and Conditions of Services (for officers and soldiers), the Gambia Armed Forces Act, the Armed Forces Regulations, a new Defence Strategy, among others. The CDS alluded to the appointment of a Minister of Defence as well as the oversight role and function of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Defence and Security as some of the steps in the area of the SSR.
Major General Drammeh equally briefed the Ambassador about the efforts being made by the Armed Forces to deploy Gambian soldiers in another mission since the Darfur mission is closing. He concluded by calling on the EU and other international partners for support in the area of training for personnel of the GAF.
The Chief of Defence was accompanied by the Director of Admin and Personnel, Lieutenant Colonel Bunja Darboe, the Director of Press and Public Relations, Major Lamin K Sanyang and his Military Assistant, Major Abdoulie Mboob.