Omar Sheikh Faye added that Gambians need to cherish them and exercise some patience because the forces came at a time when they were needed most during the political crisis.
Hon. Faye made these remarks shortly after paying a courtesy call on the ECOMIG leadership at Fajara on Tuesday 29 September 2020. The purpose of the courtesy call was to foster good relations between the ECOMIG forces and the Ministry of Defence.
According to the Defence minister, the Gambian leader President Adama Barrow and also the commander-in-chief of the Gambia Armed Forces was aware of his visit to the ECOMIG troop in Fajara. He said the purpose of his visit was to express total appreciation of the Gambian leader and the Gambian populace to the ECOMIG for the job well done.
He also said that the visit was to have first hand information on the achievements of the ECOMIG, challenges and constraints in order to have a dialogue for the way forward.
Consequently, Minister Faye said at the time “we needed ECOMIG, they came and it is therefore important to visit them sometimes and thank them for their good performance” as they have been protecting very sensitive areas just to ensure that the Gambian people enjoy peace and stability.
He also used the opportunity to acknowledge Hon. Halifa Sallah for the excellent role he played at that difficult time; “talking to the whole world about the situation in The Gambia. He is worthy of commendation for patriotism.”
“We should not forget that time,” saying it was during that difficult time that the president and ECOWAS presidents decided that it was important to get security in The Gambia to keep the peace before it falls into a constitutional crisis or even a civil war.
According to the minister, the presidents of AU discussed and they went to the United Nations and Resolution 2337 was passed, which brought ECOMIG into The Gambia to help their brothers and sisters in The Gambia.
According to Minister Faye, the ECOMIG mission is here for three stages: intervention, stabilisation and withdrawal.
He said ECOMIG had moved from the intervention stage to the stabilisation stage, protecting the government, protecting the leadership, protecting the population to make sure that the armed forces, the security forces work with civil authority to understand each other again because there was a break – a change of government.
Defence Minister Faye further thanked the ECOMIG for ensuring that peace and stability prevail. He also called on Gambians to still exercise patience as security sector reform is not an event but a continuing process.