By Adama Tine
At least 150 Gambian soldiers have returned from a three-month training of different disciplines in Turkey.
The troops were received at the Banjul International Airport by the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff Major General Mamat O. Cham together with some Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) top brass.
General Cham welcomed them back home and commended them for the good conduct they showed while in Turkey, noting that no adverse report or misconduct of any individual has reached the Defence Headquarters.
The Contingent Commander Lieutenant Colonel Amadou Bojang said the training was a specialized and tailored one centred on UN peacekeeping procedures and advanced military tactics.
“The training package is part of a series earmarked amongst others for Gambian Quick Re-enforement (QRF) contingents to undergo prior to deployment in a peacekeeping environment,” he said.
He also highlighted the special gains made in the field of convoy operations, mine awareness drills amongst other peace operation courses.
In a similar but separate engagement, 250 GAF personnel under the umbrella of QRF 3 left Banjul for the Pepublic of Turkey for similar trainings.
Her Excellency the Turkish Deputy Ambassador to The Gambia Dilara Salmanli in addressing the departng troops wished them well in their training endeavours in Turkey.
She added that Turkey-Gambia military cooperation is one of the main pillars of our long lasting friendship.
“Since early 1990s, we committed to intensifying our support to the Gambia Armed Forces in the areas of training and logistical support,” she also said.
She noted that Turkey has vast experiences in international peacekeeping missions and reconstruction of crises regions while stating that the training programme that QRF 2 had undergone and the one QRF 3 will undergo in Turkey is part sharing Turkish experiences and knowhow in peacekeeping with GAF.
She was accompanied to the airport tarmac by Ibrahim Sert, Director of Maarif Schools Foundation, The Gambia; M. Akif Eyigun TIKA representative and Colonel Guven Demir Turkish Military Adviser.
QRF 3 is led by Lieutenant Colonel Abdoulie Jatta who until recently was the GAF’s Director of Operations at the Defence Headquarters in Banjul.