By Amadou Jadama
Two hundred and fifty of the Gambia Armed Forces Quick Reaction Force (QRF3) have returned to the country on Sunday evening after completing their three months QRF training in Turkey.
The troops arrived at the Banjul International Airport at 6:30pm with Turkish Air Force. The training was funded by the Turkish government.
Receiving the the troops on behalf of the CDS, Mamat Cham the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff of the Gambia Armed Forces, said this marked the end of the group training for 2021-2022, and it is also the begging of new engagement.
“Tomorrow, I together with some senior officers of the Gambia Armed Forces will be holding the bilateral conference between the Gambia Armed Forces and the Turkish Armed Forces, where we are going to look at the progress that have been made so far in our excellent relationship
And we will also work out the ways to try and enrich it, and also to move it to other height. It shows very clear that Turkey Armed Forces is the strategic partner of the Gambia Armed Forces,” he said.
He disclosed the training could not come at a better time as they are prepared for deployment to a possible UN mission.
“You are welcome back home. We have gone a long way as well. We have done all things that have been required to move the progress and the agenda of the Armed Forces, and I am sure with your arrival, you will only add impetus to our current engagement. We have been challenged in the past few weeks with the conflicts in the southern Senegalese region. But thank God, it is subsiding and we are hopeful that the normalcy is returning,” he added.
He noted that The Gambia and Senegal have enjoyed excellence bilateral relationship, and he prayed and hoped that the peaceful relationship continue.
“Our stand is very clear; we want to see normalcy and peace in a friendly sister relationship within the context of one Senegal and one Gambia. So we can only hope and pray that this unusually tension will subside so that we can go back to our normal peaceful coexistence.”
“Our peaceful endeavour towards sending a Quick Reaction Force to a UN mission is still alive. During the visit of the CDS in Turkish, he had opportunity to engage with the company that was engaged to supply us with the critical enablers in terms of the APCs, and I am sure the engagement was very fruitful and we’ve been able to clear the little huddles. We’ve been informed by the company that because of the destruction of the global supply during the pandemic, it has resulted into a little delay, but thank God those ones are being solved,” he added.
The Deputy CDS used the occasion to thank the Turkish Armed Forces for the excellent support they have been giving to them in terms of training as well as the material support.
Lt Abdoulie Jatta, the contingent commander, said the training basically was for pre-deployment in a peacekeeping unit.
According to him, the Gambia Armed Forces intends to deploy a QRF to either Mali or Central African Republic.
Dilara Salmanil, the Deputy Ambassador of Turkey to the Gambia disclosed that the training of five hundred staff on UN peace operations in Turkey has been successfully completed. “As you know, Turkey has lot of experience in peace support and peacekeeping operations, and we are happy to share this experience with other allies. We consider The Gambia as a brotherly and friendly country,” he said.
She added that as a result of their strong relations, Turkey has supported The Gambia in the fields of military trainings and logistics for over 30 years.