By Temitope Ponle
The Gambian delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament say the services of the ECOWAS Mission in the Gambia (ECOMIG) are still needed with ongoing security sector reforms in the country.
This is contained in the country report presented by Mr Samba Jallow on behalf of the delegation at the ongoing ordinary session of the parliament in Abuja.
ECOMIG was established in Jan. 2017 in response to weeks of political stalemate following the country’s presidential election in Dec. 2016.
The troops were deployed as part of an international response to ensure respect for the results of the election.
ECOWAS, in May 2018, extended the duration of its mission in The Gambia by one year stating that the extension was necessary to assist the country in reforming its security sector.
The term of ECOMIG had also initially been extended in June 2017 by one year.
One of the mandates of ECOMIG was to contribute to the training of the Armed and Security Forces which is the broad issue of the security sector reform.
The report presented by the Gambian delegation, however, stated that the security situation in the country “continues to improve and ECOMIG Forces continues to play an important role by ensuring peace and safety of all citizens”.
“The Security Sector Reform is at advanced stage.
“It is expected that the reform will transform the country’s security sector into an effective, professional forces capable of defending the supremacy of the Constitution at all times.
“As the security sector reform is ongoing, the services of ECOMIG is needed and we still count on ECOWAS and the international community to provide us with the much needed resources and expertise to conclude these reforms.”
ECOWAS had also stated financial constraint as one of the challenges faced in the maintenance of the troops with the European Union (EU) supporting the mission with nine million euro.
According to the Africa-EU Partnership, ECOMIG benefited from European Union funding of 2.3 million euro under the Early Response Mechanism until May 2017.
It moved to a Peace Support Operation as of June 7, 2017, with a funding of 7.5 million euro which ended on May 20, 2018, following which an extension would have been requested by ECOWAS.