By Momodou Darboe
The Gambia government spokesman has said the ECOMIG forces remain active in the country and that their presence remains legitimate for at now.
Since 2017, troops from Senegal, Nigeria and Ghana have been alternately deployed in the country following a disputed presidential election in 2016.
The mandate of the regional forces, funded by the European Union through the African Peace Facility, is to ensure the stability of the country as it transitions from dictatorship to democracy.
But as the regional forces’ current mandate reportedly comes to an end this month, it is not yet clear whether Ecowas will give it another lease of life as a planned Ecowas inter-ministerial meeting to discuss it, among other issues, could not still hold due to the coronavirus crisis.
The government spokesman Ebrima G. Sankareh on Thursday told The Standard that the continuous stay of the ECOMIG forces in The Gambia is subject to periodic review.
“A few weeks ago, CDSs of the various member states had a fruitful virtual meeting and made several recommendations as it pertains to the activities of ECOMIG as well as other forces within the sub-region,” stated Sankareh.
He added: “An ECOWAS inter-ministerial meeting was supposed to take place but postponed due to the emergency situation affecting all member states as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. As of now, the situation is under review, pending the final decision to be taken at level of ECOWAS Heads of State who also are currently preoccupied with the same Covid-19 pandemic.”
Meanwhile, the current mandate of the West African intervention forces will reportedly expire this month and it is not yet clear whether it would be extended and if so, when.