By M S Bah
Gambian President Adama Barrow has sought for the extension of the ´sub-regional Armed Force ECOMIG stationed in the country to 2021. President Barrow made these statements before his fellow heads of States and Governments at the recently concluded ECOWAS meeting in Abuja, Nigeria.
“Given our unique situation, I re-echo the plea to this august body to extend the ECOMIG mission in The Gambia to 2021, when the transition process would have given way for the third republic to contribute effectively to our regional commitments,” he said. The Gambian President also raised the issue of migration as one of the great concerns of the sub-region.
He cited the recent boat tragedy off the coast of Mauritania which caused the death of over 60 young people who were mostly Gambians.
“Recently, scores of Gambian youth lost their lives at sea due to irregular migration. In this regard, we are thankful to President Muhamed Ould Ghazouani and the Government and people of Mauritania for rescuing some of those migrants and recovering and burying their bodies in that country,” President Barrow stated in his speech. He noted that the incident highlights irregular migration as a major concern which they need to address.
However, President Barrow also underscores some of the challenges affecting the sub-region such as the issues of social discrimination, terrorist attacks, land conflicts and environmental concerns.
“I join my colleagues to condemn all the recent terrorist attacks in the region especially in Ouagadougou, Mali and Niger,” he stated. He expressed condolence to the countries affected for the loss of lives of their citizens and the unfortunate destruction of properties. President Barrow said that the Gambia will always stand by their side in their resolve to fight terrorism.