By Awa Macalo
The Chief of Defence Staff of the Gambia Armed Forces has refuted allegations by Lance Corporal Samba Bah, a serving member of the Army, who accused GAF of neglecting his need for medical treatment following an accidental gun discharge that left him badly injured. That incident happened while he was on duty at the Kanilai military post.
On Saturday, the injured soldier vented his frustrations on What’s On Gambia accusing the Ministry of Health and GAF of neglect despite several “engagements.”
He explained: “On the 26th June, 2019 while I was deployed to a guard post in Kanilai, my own comrade mistakenly shot me and I was rushed to Banjul for surgery after which the doctors recommended overseas treatment but since then, I have been begging and knocking on doors, but no one wants to help. We visited many government offices including the Army and Ministry of Health, but they don’t want to help.”
Responding to Lance Corporal Bah, CDS Lieutenant General Yakuba Drammeh explained: “Firstly, immediately after the incident the army quickly arranged for him be evacuated from Kanilai to the EFSTH in Banjul where necessary procedures were carried out.The army further instructed its chief medical doctor to do all necessary follow-ups as well as keep the high command abreast about his condition. A medical board consisting of 3 doctors was set up to look into his situation. They came up with a recommendation that he should undergo further medical treatment overseas and we decided to write to the Ministry of Health whose responsibility it is to undertake such huge ventures. All follow-ups were done and he was shortlisted to undergo treatment in India but during the process, India was badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and it was going to be inappropriate to send him and other soldiers there when the country is gripped with anxiety and fear”.
The CDS further explained that the army high command has always supported and looked after the welfare of its serving members, especially in the area of medical support with over 150 soldiers sent overseas for treatment.
“As an institution, we owe it to our soldiers and Lance Corporal Bah is not an exception. We have given him similar attention and his family,” CDS Drammeh said.