By Lamin Cham
The director general of the State Intelligence Services, Ousman Sowe, has said the recent detection of a container load of firearms at the Banjul port is a clear testimony that security alertness in the country has gone to another notch.
Addressing a news briefing at Ferry terminal as he set out for a nationwide tour, DG Sowe said the efficiency of intelligence and security in the country made it possible for the arms to be detected.
“If those arms have not been detected it would tantamount to a failure,” DG Sowe said.
Commenting on his tour, Sowe said it is part of the new concept called National Belt Initiative which is aimed at making the SIS physically and practically present in communities and localities around the country.
“And so we shall be opening new sites and offices in various places around the country. Notably we shall now be present in URR North, having already covered the URR South. With the completion of the new road network there naturally we have to be present to match the rise in the level of activities there.”
DG Sowe said the SIS is very much aware and prepared each day to rise to the security challenges of the Gambia as a nation on a healing process. Sowe said one of the greatest achievements has been the demystification of the institution which transformed it from being one feared and despised by the population to one that is now trusted and ordinary to the Gambian people.
He said the tour takes the form of engaging the local people, Seyfolu, Alkalolu, Governors, religious and opinion leaders in meetings.
“Our mission is to spread knowledge and awareness about our work and to get the people feel that the SIS is all about maintaining peace and stability of the country,” he said.
Mr Sowe disclosed that since security is interlinked, the SIS works closely with the police, army and other security outfits recalling that the heads of those institutions too recently conducted a tour of the country.
He revisited the issue of social media, stating that it is a great challenge because it is among the things if not the only platform that raises the temperature of the nation.
“What makes it a challenge is that often issues that are raised there are either not informed, factual or progressive which in turn attracts expressions and opinions that are not credible or foolproof. So there is a challenge that before the fact is established or known many will be made to believe what has been out on social media. This is what I mean by saying it is a challenge,” he explained.
Sowe said the most important thing do as Gambians is to make responsible use of the freedom we have by being measured and restraint in what we do or say to or about each other. “There is lot of sensationalisation out there and what we all need to do is to be measured and law abiding as that has been our culture,” he concluded.