UN repatriates 75 Gambian peacekeepers


By Juldeh Njie Out of the 208 security personnel (GAMCOY 21) that were sent to Darfur on a peace keeping mission last year, seventy-five have been sent home Sunday after spending nearly 9 months there. The reason for their return according to officials, was as a result of the mission’s strategic review and recommendation to downsize the number of troops in Sudan. The trimming of the mission’s forces affected other peacekeeping countries as well. Welcoming the Service men and women at the Banjul international airport, Brigadier General Mamat Cham, GAF, welcomed the returnees and thanked them for representing the country well. “Your return has nothing to do with your performance in Darfur but the downsizing of the troops by UN of which we are not the only affected country,” the Brigadier General told the returning officers. He then instructed the officers to go to the Yundum Barracks to go through formal proceedings after which they can go home to see their families and love ones. “You are expected to report back on Wednesday at the Yundum barracks for detailed briefing regarding your leave, financial entitlements and luggage,” he stated. Speaking earlier, Wo2 Ousman Badjie, a returnee, explained how proud they were to representing The Gambia, and that they have done their best to maintain peace in Darfur, Sudan. He said: “It was very challenging for the past 9 months but we tried to keep to the base.” Upon arrival at Yundum Barracks, Tida Sanneh, wife of one of the returnees, expressed joy and gratitude for the safe arrival of GAMCOY 21. She added: “This is an opportunity for the service to represent their country but as well a risky mission because they will be leaving their families behind and they do not know whether they will come back or not or whether they will find their families in good shape.”]]>