Friday, June 9

‘ECOMIG soldiers in Gambia are not an occupation force’

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The top ECOWAS diplomat was speaking during the Stakeholder Conference and Donor Roundtable on the Implementation of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission TRRC Recommendations on Friday, at the Sir Dawda Kairaba International Conference Centre in Bijilo.

According to Mr. Touray, peace and stability is a priority for the regional bloc and for that reason, Gambians should not see the regional troops as an occupation force.

“As a community, ECOWAS attaches a premium to peace and stability and ECOWAS member states are ready to pay any price for that condition.”

“It is in this context that we as Gambians and Africans should be looking at the ECOMIG soldiers who have joined hands with their brothers and sisters of the Gambian armed and other security forces to ensure peace and stability of the Gambia.”

“They are not an occupation force, they are here for our security and that of the region.”

He reiterated the significance attached to the regional troops in The Gambia with a view to preserving peace and stability in the country.

“Annually it costs ECOWAS millions of Dollars to maintain ECOMIG in The Gambia. When member states took the decision to send the mission here, they knew that it would be expensive. They took the decision nonetheless that is because they know that peace has no price.

On the issue of transitional justice, President Touray said ECOWAS stands ready to support the government of The Gambia to implement the TRRC recommendations, adding “we will work together to fight impunity just like we worked together to combat other drivers of insecurity.”

He called on the international community to support The Gambia’s transitional justice system

Meanwhile, on regional insecurity, the ECOWAS Commission head says the region faces numerous insecurities that have affected millions of people within the bloc.

“As I speak to you, 29 million people are facing food insecurity in the region. If nothing is done, this number can rise up to 40 million by August this year.”