By Mustapha Jallow

The army leader on Monday before his departure for a nation-tour told journalists that GAF personnel have not taken over the state guards but that the arrangement is a shared responsibility between them and the police intervention unit (paramilitary).

“We’ve not taken over the state guards but what we’ve in place is an arraignment, where we will increase the security presence of the state house. We’re also working with Ecomig forces to ensure that some of the responsibilities are transferred to the Gambian side,’’ Lieutenant General Masanneh Kinteh said.

“What used to be at state house initially was an arraignment, where the paramilitary or the Police Intervention Unit are responsible for the security of state house together with Ecomig,’’ he said.

“Once we’ve trained our personnel in the Presidential guard security in the republic of Senegal who have returned about three weeks back, we find it necessary to be able to inject them into the state guard and to be able to beef-up the security and also it becomes a shared responsibility, not just between the paramilitary and Ecomig but also members of the Gambian Armed Forces,’’ the CDS remarked in a bid to clear the air at the GAF headquarters in Banjul.

However, the army chief said they have got four security components on the ground, namely the GAF personnel, Police Intervention, State Intelligence and Ecomig.

“We think of this because eventually Ecomig is going to withdraw and one of the key areas that needs to be manned at all times, is of course the state guards as it is at the heart of our national security. We want that transition to be summoned as soon as possible and that’s why we’re bringing this new element. We will also continue to work together. We will continue to train more personnel to be able to provide adequate security to the Presidency,’’ he concluded.

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