By Amadou Jadama
Some two hundred and fifty personnel of the Gambia Armed Forces on Saturday left for Turkey for a 12-week advance military training in general peacekeeping and military operations.
The soldiers are being prepared for deployment to the Quick Reaction Force (QRF2) earmarked for a UN mission. Turkey has promised to train 500 GAF personnel for this mission.
Mamat O Cham, the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff revealed that this is the first time GAF is sending such a large contingent outside for training, thanks to the support from the Turkish Armed Forces and their government.
“I am also happy to inform you that under the military aid protocol, Turkey has made available over 2 million US dollars in support for the Armed Forces. Your travels, stay and the training is at no cost to the government and the people of The Gambia. This comes to show the genuine and excellent support Turkey has been rendering to the Gambia Armed Forces,” Deputy CDS Cham told the departing soldiers.
He said the training marks the second phase of the preparation put in place over the last months ahead of the planned deployment to the UN Quick Reaction Force. “You started this journey with language training some months ago and now you are going to the sister Republic of Turkey to perfect your individual skills,” Cham told the soldiers.
He reminded them that they have been carefully selected and should therefore conduct themselves as ambassadors of the Gambia Armed Forces by respecting the laws, the rules and the regulations of Turkey as well as work hard.
Tolga Bermek, the Turkish Ambassador to The Gambia, said Turkey is a genuine friend to the country and their military relationship is one of the main pillars of the brotherly relations. He said during their stay in Turkey, the Gambian soldiers will not only develop their professional capacity but also become honorary ambassadors of Turkish-Gambian brotherhood.