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150 Gambian soldiers attend close protection training in Senegal

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The 150 contingent includes 115 soldiers and 35 members of the Police Intervention Unit (PIU) led by Major Ousman Bah.

One hundred and fifty Gambian soldiers have left the country on August 21 for Senegal to be trained as members of the presidential guards.

This is the second of soldiers from the elite presidential guards to receive such training since the regime change in December, 2016.

In 2018, another 150 soldiers had a similar training in Senegal. That batch included 21 female soldiers. This particular batch includes 9 female soldiers.

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Lieutenant General Masanneh Kinteh, has bade the officers farewell at the Armed Forces Training School at Fajara Barracks.

“This journey started over two years ago when there was a peaceful change of government in this country for the first time, and there was a need to be able to reconstitute the presidential guard that will be there to serve the interest of the people of this country,” said Kinteh who was appointed CDS in 2017.

Upon arrival in Dakar, the men and women will undergo a four month close protection training at the neighboring country, after which they will return to join the first batch at the seat of the presidency.

Currently, the presidency is under the protection of the regional forces who have come into the country to enforce the election results after former president Yahya Jammeh refused to step down.

Jammeh lost election to President Adama Barrow but he claimed the polls were marred with irregularities and called for fresh votes. Accused of severe human rights violations, Jammeh controlled the military and all other key institutions of state.

The regional leaders had to send in a 7000-strong army to force him in exile in Equatorial Guinea.

However, after his departure, the Gambia Government has began a process of reorienting the army, especially the presidential guards.

The Gambia’s security forces are currently being reformed to allow them to slowly take over as the term of the regional forces expires in August 2019.

 

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