The Public Relations Officer of the ECOWAS military intervention in the Gambia, Commander Michael A. Larpi has stated that their intervention in the Gambia has not taken away the functions and responsibility of the Gambia Armed Forces.
He added that they don’t even interfere in the functions and responsibility of the country’s security forces especially that of the Armed Forces, adding that the relationship between ECOMIG forces and the Gambia Armed Forces is very positive and that GAF is hosting them in Fajara.
Commander Michael A. Larpi was on Wednesday speaking in an interview with Arfang M.S. Camara, during the Senegalese ECOMIG soldier’s independence celebration at their headquarters in Fajara.
Commander Michael A. Larpi is from Ghana and is been appointed as the Relations Officer of the ECOWAS military intervention in the Gambia on 20th of February 2018.
He further said that most of their operations they do join with the Gambia Armed Forces, noting that this is one of the reasons which shows that they have not taken the responsibility and functions of the GAF.
“The Gambia is a sovereign nation in which their security sector both the Armed Forces and the police are working very well and that their intervention in the country has not taken the function and responsibility or even interfere but rather we do join operations with them”, he said.
He revealed that there is nothing that they (ECOMIG) do that the Gambia Armed Forces is not be aware adding that everything they do in the Gambia is in accordance with their mandate and that their mandate is not to interfere in the Gambian security force.
When asked about the longevity of their stay in the country, the PRO said that they have a mandate that is been given to their mission and that if ECOWAS decides to renew the mission then they go according to the mission.
“We the soldiers in the mission cannot determine when we should leave and when we should go, but I believed that every day-in-day-out as they (ECOWAS) monitor and know what happens in the country then it is based on that they would advise”, he said.
According to him, ECOMIG has not been given the exact responsibility to reform the Gambian soldiers, adding that if there is going to be anything to work in conjunction it would be in terms of coordination as well as working in support of what the Gambia Armed Forces
“We have not been given the mandate to come and reform the Gambian Armed Forces. If there should be any it would be in terms of collaboration, working together in ensuring peace and stability which is accordance with what is given to our mission”, he said.
Former practicing journalist turned army, noted that everything that is been done by the ECOMIG troops in the Gambia is been sponsored by the neighboring countries under the auspices ECOWAS who generates the support from institution like the European Union (EU), United Nations (UN), the world body and the countries themselves.
He finally said that The Gambia as a country is not sponsoring ECOMIG troops in the Gambia.
By:Arfang M.S. Camara.