The Minister of Defence Sheikh Omar Faye on Wednesday 28 May 2020, visited Garawol Kuta Village in the Upper River Region (URR) of the Gambia.
The visit was to reassure the people of URR and Garawol Kuta that the Government of Adama Barrow is working tirelessly since the shooting incident of March 8th 2020 and the subsequent arrest of one of their own, in the person of Sulayman Trawally.
The Minister of Defense informed the villagers that it has been a long and rocky undertaking for them to reach this far together; that as devout Muslims, it is important to believe in predestination and said he appreciated the efforts played by members of the security forces and the community leaders in promoting reconciliation and confidence building after the incident.
According to Defense Minister Faye, this truly reflects ‘‘our genuine and collective efforts in ensuring that peace continues to prevail in our motherland’’.
He saluted the efforts of the local taskforce headed by the Member of Parliament, the Chief and other influential community leaders for the area, who all contributed in no small measure in ensuring that the matter was resolved.
He described them as true patriots and went on to inform that many things have happened behind the scenes which is not out in the public domain, since the incident occurred; that he was not there to cover up or bend the truth but to inform villagers that Government is aware of the situation and they are doing something about it.
According to Defense Minister Faye, the experience of Sulayman Trawally and the villagers of Garawol and the ordeal Trawally went through, is indeed regrettable; that the Government of the Gambia will never abandon her citizens and the immediate deployment of a patrol team that crossed into Senegal to follow up the case, is a clear indication that the security forces and the Government will never abdicate their responsibilities.
According to Defense Minister Faye, a mediation team has been composed to work out the modalities to avoid the reoccurrence of this kind of incident at the diplomatic level; but that however, the mediation efforts has been marred by this global Covid-19 pandemic. He concluded by assuring villagers that every frantic effort will be put in place to avoid a reoccurrence of such an incident in the area.
Other people who spoke were the Deputy Governor of the Region, the Member of Parliament, Chief, Alkalo of the Village and two community leaders from the area.
They all expressed appreciation for the visit of the Defense Minister and requested for more support in terms of road infrastructure and security.
Defense Minister Faye was accompanied to the area by the Commissioners of Police, Immigration, the Commanding Officer of the 3rd Infantry Battalion and other Security heads of the Region.