By Omar Bah
The Chief of Defense Staff Masaneh Kinteh has said that 2019 will be a turning point for the Gambia Armed Forces in terms of its reform and development agenda, adding that the military should expect a defining year.
CDS Kinteh was speaking at the Army Headquarters yesterday whiles receiving non-lethal military items donated to GAF by Turkey. “This is just the beginning of great things to come for the armed forces. The president said 2019 is going to be a turning point for the country but I can also conveniently say that 2019 is also going to be a turning point for the Gambia Armed Forces,” said CDS Kinteh.
Speaking further CDS Kinteh said Gambians are beginning to see the real image of the Gambia Armed Forces, adding “we want to make sure that they have the right equipment to deliver the service that is required of them”.
On the donated items, CDS Kinteh said the support will tremendously help in their efforts to ensuring that the military is fully equipped and ready to take up her responsibilities home and abroad. He said most of the items that they received would be used for peacekeeping purposes.
CDS Kinteh said the items are not only huge in quantity but are also among the best military equipment one would find with any soldier around the world.
“We want to make sure that the members of GAF are very well equipped so that they would be able to stand toe-toe with other soldiers around the world because we take pride in our appearance as soldiers and the equipment gives us lot of confidence to do our job,” he added.
He said as a third world country, The Gambia finds it difficult to fully equip its armed forces but they would continue to appeal from other partners to solicit support in their peacekeeping endeavor and other ventures at home.
“If you have to go through a realistic security sector reform…particularly defense reform, you must have solid logistic support to be able to provide operations of the military and I would want to thank the Turkish government because since the dawn of the new dispensation, we have received lot of support,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s Ambassador to The Gambia, Ismail Sefa Yuceer, said the cooperation between Turkey and The Gambia dates back to 1965 and since then it is growing from strength to strength and more meaningful.
He said the Gambia Armed Forces is the first military to benefit from Turkish military training and many soldiers have undergone training under the Turkish military training scheme.
The cooperation scheme, Ambassador Yuceer added, is a technical assistance program that has been going on in the last sixteen years and during that period Turkey has supported GAF with over D70M worth of items and other technical assistance.
“As we speak some Gambian military officers are participating in military trainings in Turkey. This assistance is part of Turkey’s meaningful attention to The Gambia and I hope our assistance will go along way towards helping the country in its transformation,” he concluded.