By Alagie Manneh
The new spokesperson of the Ecowas mission in The Gambia, Commander Michael Labri Wednesday said his forces are not in Banjul to take over responsibilities of the Gambia Armed Forces.
Aside from their Mission which is to maintain peace and help stabilise the country’s transition, the spokesperson said they only embark on joint operations with GAF.
“We do not usurp their functions or responsibilities,” Commander Labri said in an interview with journalists. “Every [responsibility] that is given to us as the Ecowas mission here is according to what is in the mandate, so we do not interfere in the work of the Gambia Armed Forces. If the GAF is doing their work we do not interfere and in most of the operations that we do, it is joint with them.”
The spokesperson said relations between the two forces are in fact “very positive.”
“There is nothing that we do the Gambia army is not aware of,” stated.
On what progress has been made in investigations into the fatal shooting of a Kanilai protester in June last year by Ecomig forces in Foni, the new spokesperson, who arrived in the country last February, said he wouldn’t know.
“I have been in this country for one month. I will not be able to speak about that.”
Asked whether he has been briefed on the outcome of the investigations, commander Labri said: “You will read stories, you will hear certain things but if you do not have the facts you can’t speak.”
The spokesperson also took time to comment on the recent celebration of Senegal’s 58th independence anniversary by the Ecowas mission in Fajara.
He said: “It is a very good and positive development. As countries in West African region we are happy when another country is celebrating an anniversary. It draws our attention that we still have a lot of things in common as countries within the Ecowas region to work together and support each other and ensure there is peace and stability and development for all our people. So our felicitations to them.”