Gov’t urged to prepare for Ecomig’s exit

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By Omar Bah

A US-based Gambian criminologist and specialist on law enforcement and national security crisis, has urged the government to start preparing for life after the withdrawal of the West African troops.

In January, Miatta Lily French, the Ecowas country representative in The Gambia, hinted that the Ecomig troops stationed in the country will start winding down their mission unless there is a security situation that might dictate otherwise. Last month, Bubakarr Suleiman Jeng, the National Security Adviser (NSA) also hinted that government is working progressively towards the eventual withdrawal of the troops. 

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Commenting on the issue, Modou Lamin Faye, a Seattle- based regular contributor on security matters in the country, said government should take serious measures now to restore trust and confidence in the military.

He argued also that government should make provision for a tactical team for all the country’s security forces in the National Security Policy.

“This will help our security forces to better understand and prepare for situations like terrorist attacks, hostage rescuing, active shooter or gang/organised crime responses. A tactical playbook to respond to whatever situation should have been developed and put in place by a separate team of security experts (Gambians) to get the security forces go on their tactical trainings while the SSR is being developed since research shows that it could take decades to build or rebuild institutions,” he noted.

Faye said with a tactical playbook in place, the controversy or misunderstanding of the excessive use of force meted on the public by the Police Intervention Unit (PIU) would be avoided.

“Holding an AK-47 is one thing, but being able to mentally, emotionally and psychologically prepared to eliminate a threat while under pressure without shooting innocent bystanders or other responding officers is another,” he said.

Faye said his NGO has decided to work with the Gambia government on this matter and has purchased loads of materials including custom made police/Gambian flag patches for the Gambian police as his contribution to reforms.

He added: “We have reached out to the government and are looking forward to partnering them and have them contribute to the organisation to realise this objective of equipping, training, and maintaining our security forces as mandated by the constitution. If for whatever reason the Barrow administration decides to not work with us or make good use of this opportunity of not expecting aid from our allies, we will still continue to build this organisation, because if one door is closed another one opens,”