EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Defence minister Sheikh Omar Faye said the mission of the Ecowas Military Mission in The Gambia (ECOMIC), who are deployed in the country following the 2016 Presidential election impasse is no different from that of Gambian contingents who are sent on peace mission in Darfur, Liberia Sudan and other parts of the world.
Mr Faye also emphasised the significance of peace, saying the implementing of Gambia government’s Security Sector Reform (SSR) and guaranteeing that the country remains peaceful are some of his top priorities.
Speaking to journalists at the Banjul ferry terminal Tuesday morning, as he began a nationwide visit to military installations and meetings with local authorities with the country’s army chief, Mr Faye said his priority is to make Gambia one of the best and safest places in the world. “That’s what the president wants and that’s what we also want. We want Gambia to be peaceful so that there can be development,” he said.
President Adama Barrow appointed him this august, making him his first appointed defence minister since coming to office in December 2016. Mr Faye was Gambia’s Consul General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and one-time Ambassador to the United States, before his August appointment in a mini cabinet re-shuffle.
“You can have all the gold, the diamond and all the petrol, but if you don’t have peace, your country will not be stable. So, the President want all Gambians to be at peace and that’s what we are all doing. It has been very difficult for some couple of decades and now we want to repair and look for avenues of redress and start moving forward,” Mr Faye said.
He said the security forces are maintaining steady watch over the country’s territorial integrity and to consolidate on the gains made by ensuring that Gambians are well informed of their responsibility to maintain the peace and protect their country.
The Barrow administration first appointed Mr Faye as the Deputy Head of Mission at the Gambian Embassy in Dubai before moving him as Consul General in Jeddah. His predecessor and former President Yahya Jammeh has been the defence minister during his tenure and since his coming to power in 2016, Mr. Barrow has been the defence minister and commander-in-chief of the country’s army until Mr Faye’s appointment.
“Our security sector policies are in place. We are putting up lot of other strategies and we also have support from the cabinet, the steering committee and the entire sister services,” he said.
Chief of defence staff Lieutenant General Masanneh N. Kinteh said the nationwide visit will provide the chance for them to interact with their personnel and to get first-hand information on some of the issues affecting them.
“We will be able to communicate to our personnel to be able to access their living and working conditions and the forum to engage in frank discussion where we will roll out the new policies and guidelines of the GAF.”
He said during the activities, they will also engage regional administrators and the civilian population, saying security is a collective responsibility.