By Makutu Manneh
The Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) in a press release referred to retired Lieutenant Colonel SamsudeenSarr’s remarks about the Gambia Army and ECOMIG as disappointing, fallacious, far-fetched, ill-informed and out of touch with the current realities, especially regarding the Army.
GAF said its high command’s attention has been drawn to a story published on Kerr Fatou medium where retired army officer Samsudeen Sarr said the ECOMIG should stay in the Gambia as long as Barrow is the President.
GAF continued that in the same story, Sarr said the Gambia army is polluted and nonsensical, adding that the promotions were bad.
The army said another publication was made on Standard Newspaper where Samsudeen Sarr warned the Gambia not to send troops to Niger because the Gambian troops should not be deployed in any war unless they complete their long-awaited Security Sector Reform (SSR) because he believed that the army is not adequately prepared for such an undertaking.
The army said Samsudeen’s assessment lacked facts and showed a lack of understanding of what SSR is all about.
GAF said SSR is not an event but a systematic and logical process which is locally driven to promote national ownership.
“The former Army Commander exhibited the height of his ignorance before an unsuspecting audience with his ill-informed assessment of the level of preparedness of GAF, for possible deployment to Niger or any other mission,” the release stated.
“The retired Senior Officer erroneously misled his audience with his comparison of the conflict in Liberia with the current political situation in Niger. In short he was comparing apples with oranges.”
The Army noted that Sarr’s cowardly act of refusing to deploy when his comrades had their introduction to battle in Liberia still resides in him; adding that Sarr should thank his stars as he should have been court martialed by the Army for his ‘lame’ excuse and refusal to deploy in Liberia at the time.
GAF informed Sarr that now promotion in the army is not business as usual as the Defence Headquarters has put in place a structured method of promotion whereby officers sit to Promotional Exams (PROMEX) supervised by an independent board on merit.
GAF further indicated that promotions are also based on the availability of vacancies within GAF in line with the Table of Organization and Equipment (TOE).
The army also informed Sarr that the current Gambia Army is better equipped in terms of human resources than any other time in its entire history.
“The Armed Forces has a pool of highly qualified specialists and professionals with post-graduate degrees in so many fields such as defence and security, peace and conflict studies, medicine, law, engineering, finance plus others,” it says.
GAF assured the public of its readiness to maintain its professionalism while at the same time subjecting itself to civil oversight and authority.