By Mustapha Jallow

85 personnel of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) have departed Banjul International Airport to participate in a global terrorism exercise in Dammam, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The gallant soldiers of GAF were seen on departure on Wednesday 21st March 2018.

The purpose of the exercise according to Military sources, is to unify and integrate the armed forces from friendly countries in order to counter the threats and challenges of global terrorism. Over fourteen countries including the Republic of The Gambia, have been invited to take part by contributing troops to the Joint Military Exercise.

The exercise will also see the participation of the troops in a Multinational Joint Military Maneuver code named “Exercise Gulf Shield 1”, scheduled to take place in Dammam in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, from Saturday 10th March to Friday 06 April, 2018.

According to GAF spokesperson Major Lamin K. Sanyang, the troops comprise eleven officers and seventy-four other ranks, led by the Director of Peacekeeping Operations at Defence Headquarters, Colonel Alhajie Sanneh.

The Commander of the Gambia National Army Brigadier General Mamat O Cham, in an address to the troops on behalf of the Chief of Defence Staff Lieutenant General Masanneh Kinteh, tasked them to be worthy ambassadors of The Gambia. He reiterated to the troops that they should feel proud to have been selected to represent GAF and by extension the whole nation and encouraged them to remain professional in their conduct and comportment during the exercise.

It is pertinent to state that the Armed Forces of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia extended an invitation to GAF way back in October 2017, to take part in Common Manoeuvres (Gulf Shielf 1) in Dammam, Eastern region of Saudi Arabia. The exercise is divided into three phases: Effective participation of forces/ troops; participation of Senior Staff Officers (Information and Analysis, Communications, Operations, Media) and Participation as Observers

‘‘The participation of our troops in this exercise would not only strengthen the relationship between our two armed forces, but will also contribute to the high level of professionalism, discipline and good conduct, given the multinational nature of the exercise. In addition, our participation would encourage partnership and the exchange of experience with other Armed Forces thereby exposing our men to Best Military practices and also improving performance of our personnel in the area of counter-terrorism operations,’’ he concluded.

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