By Omar Bah

The Chief of Defense Staff Lt. General Masanneh Kinteh has said that contrary to widespread rumours, the Gambia Armed Forces have not taken over security at State House.
“I think it is important that we clear the air on this issue, what we have in place is an arrangement to increase the security presence at State House,”said CDS Kinteh, who was addressing journalists at the defense headquarters yesterday as he begins nationwide tour of military facilities.
He added: “So what used to be at the State House initially, was an arrangement where the PIU are responsible for security together with the Ecomig forces. But once our personnel in the presidential guard security returned from their training in Senegal, we find it necessary to inject them into the State Guard to beef up the security and ensure a shared responsibility between Ecomig, PIU and GAF,” he said.

Kinteh also said currently four security components are at the State House; Gaf, SIS, PIU and Ecomig. ”We think this is necessary because eventually Ecomig is going to withdraw and among the key areas that need to be manned at all times is the State House as it is in the heart of our national security priority,” he stressed.
CDS Kinteh further disclosed that Gaf is also working with Ecomig to ensure that some of the responsibilities are transferred to the Gambian soldiers.
He added that Gaf is in a transition and for that transition to be as smooth as possible they decided to bring these new elements.
“We will continue to work together to train more personnel so that we can continue to provide adequate security at the State House,” he said.

GAF countrywide tour
On the countrywide tour, CDS Kinteh said it is necessary for the military high command to assess the country’s internal security and as well as interact with the communities on the security challenges.
He said during these interactions they will remind the communities that security is a collective responsibility of all the security services and the communities.
The tour, he added, will also serve as an opportunity for the military officers in the various military installations to come face-to-face with the high command of the Gambia Armed Forces to put forward their concerns and challenges.

“It will also serve as one of our problem-solving tools and as well as diffuse tension and rumour mongering in the military. The key message we will send during the tour is the need for us to be united in our goal towards defending the interest of this country. The need for us to remain as good sons and daughters of this great nation, because that is our responsibility,” he asserted.
He said they will also assess the farming season and see how much it has affected farmers.
“We will meet the Ecomig to assess how far their joint operations are going with the Gambian military. We will also look at the country’s infrastructure and as well assess the country’s internal security,” he concluded.

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