By Rohey Cham
132 Gambian soldiers are set to depart for a peace keeping mission in Darfur in Sudan.The farewell ceremony which was held at McCarthy square recently, was presided over by the Vice President Dr. Isatou Touray, and attended by Security Chiefs and family members and well-wishers of the departing soldiers. Yorro Jallow of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF), is expected to lead the mission for the period of their stay in Dafur.
The Gambia being among the pioneer countries that formed the peacekeeping mission in Darfur are set to deploy the 22nd contingent group of soldiers since the mission started in 2004. The Gambia is the 3rd country to join the peacekeeping mission and has sent over 3,700 soldiers of GAF for the past years.
Presiding over the event, Dr. Isatou Touray, the new Vice President of the Republic of the Gambia, congratulated the gallant soldiers for their peace keeping mission.
“As you prepare to deploy for your mission, you must always remember the confidence bestowed on you as ambassadors of the GAF,” she remarked. She advised the soldiers to respect the religious and cultural values of the people of Sudan, and urged them to adhere to the rules and regulations of the UN; that they should get rid of sexual exploitation and illicit drugs. She concluded by praying for the soldiers and wishing them luck.
Lieutenant General MaSanneh N Kinteh, the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), also bade farewell to the soldiers and wished them well. He said the hard work and sacrifice of Gambian peacekeepers, has been recognized and acknowledged by their partners such as the AU (African Union) and the UN (United Nation). “We did it many times and we can do it again. We will have to anticipate and be prepared for the peacekeeping and humanitarian missions ahead of us,” he told the men under his command.
He said the Darfur mission is demanding; that it is full of challenges which he said is likely to increase with the anticipated development in the near future. He advised the soldiers to give hope to the hopeless and restore confidence and human dignity in the communities they will be deployed.
“Despite the challenges associated with peacekeeping operations, it presents opportunities for you to learn,” he cited.
Lance Corporal Alieu Bah who is part of GAMCOY 22, said they are ready for the mission; that the skills they have is enough for them to go through.
Vice President Touray handed over the battle flag to Yorro Jallow.
The program ended with a farewell parade of soldiers.