MoD says Ecomig denied blocking Foni residents from accessing farms


Following social media and other reports suggesting that Ecomig forces in Foni Kansala are blocking residents there from accessing their farms, the ministry of defence yesterday issued a statement saying it had engaged the West African troops’ command who said they have no mandate to prevent people from accessing their farms.

The full MoD statement reads: “The attention of the ministry of defence (MoD) has been drawn to social media reports and other sources in town that the Ecomig forces stationed in Foni Kansala District, West Coast Region, are preventing residents in and around the district from accessing their rice fields/farms. Accordingly, the MoD deemed it fitting and prudent to investigate these reports to verify their authenticity in order to determine the appropriate course of action to take as a matter of urgency. The MoD wishes to inform the general public that it had engaged the Command of the Ecomig Forces in The Gambia on the matter with a view to establishing the veracity of the reports. It has to be emphasised that the ministry takes any threat to the safety and security of lives and properties as well as the territorial integrity of this country very seriously. In light of the above, the Ecomig Command has informed the ministry that their forces do not have the authority to prevent any citizen of The Gambia especially residents in Foni Kansala District from accessing or working on their farms. The deployment of troops, especially those of 4 Infantry Battalion in Kanilai and other satellite villages was informed by the level of insecurity around The Gambia’s southern border with Senegal. It is in this same spirit that there are other deployments of personnel of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) throughout the country.

It is gratifying to report that the GAF and other sister Security Services such as the Gambia Police Force and Ecomig continue to maintain very cordial relations through the conduct of joint patrols and training exercises. All these are geared towards protecting lives and properties and also to enhance cooperation and collaboration among them. Troops of GAF 4 Infantry Battalion would continue to ensure the safety and security of lives and properties within their Area of Responsibility (AOR) through the conduct of vigorous patrols. This is with the aim of restoring confidence so that citizens living in this region of the country could go about their daily activities without fear. The ministry wishes to reassure citizens of this country of its commitment to the protection of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of this country through our gallant men and women – The Gambia Armed Forces. Therefore, owners of the rice fields/farms in and around Foni Kansala and its environs are encouraged to go about their daily farming activities. They are also encouraged to report anyone that tries to prevent them from accessing their farms to the nearest Police Station or to the Commander of the 4 Infantry Battalion in Kanilai.”