By Nelson Manneh
The Gambia Armed Force (GAF) on Friday the February 8th February 2019, graduated one hundred and thirty-two soldiers who will be re-deployed to Darfur in Sudan next month.
The colourful ceremony which took place at the Gambia Armed Forces Training School (GAFTS) in Fajara Barracks, marked the end of the pre-deployment training for the preparation of ‘Gamcoy 22’ for their immediate deployment to Darfur.
Yakuba Drammeh, the Deputy Chief of Defense Staff (DCDS) of GAF said the officers have gone through six weeks of training to equip them both mentally and physically, for the mission they are about to embark on.
“You are going to Darfur to give hope to the hopeless, to provide humanitarian assistance to the desperate people of Darfur,” he told the graduating soldiers. DCDS Drammeh quoted the scriptures thus: ‘‘Happy are those who work for peace, for God will called them his children’’; that it is a noble gesture to give a helping hand to people in hostile zones. “Be proud to be a helper to the desperate, and be ready to stand for the truth and help the needy,” he said.
DCDS Drammeh added that the soldiers were subjected to the pre-deployment training in order to learn the dos and the don’ts; that many were called in the initial stage of the training but only few succeeded and will be representing GAF and the whole country in Darfur. “Continue to work hard to keep the flag of the Gambia high, because records have shown that our officers have been doing good, when it comes to peace keeping missions,” he said; that GAF is a noble institution even in the eyes of God. He advises them to respect the culture and tradition of the people they are going to meet and help, in Sudan.
Sharon Wardle, the British High Commissioner to the Gambia, said the pre-deployment training is the professional way of preparing individuals before they assume their responsibilities.
“The good repetition of GAF cannot be side lined. You have been showing professionalism in all your peace keeping missions,” she said.
Lieutenant Paul Gomez, the Commander of GAFTS said the six weeks training session was meant to shape the officers who will be living for Darfur. “We always maintain the good repetition of GAF because of the pre-training that the officers under go before living the country. They are always expose to all areas that they need to know before embarking on such missions,” he said; that the situation in Darfur is unpredictable, and therefore urged the officers to be vigilant and work as a team and to be each other’s keeper.