July 20, 2024

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Gambia: We Will Jealously Safeguard Our Waters, Deter Irregular Migration – CDS

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Lieutenant General Mamat O. Cham, the Chief of Defence Staff of The Gambia Armed Forces (GAF), has underscored the significance of protecting the country’s seas from illegal activities.

The CDS said GAF would provide the navy with surveillance boats, vessels and other equipment with the desire of detecting illegal activities within the Gambian territory.

Lt. General Mamat Cham, who was speaking on Wednesday during a visit to the coastal village of Tanjeh of the Gambia Navy forward Observation Base (Tanjeh FOB), said: “The officers and rating of The Gambia Navy will jealously safeguard our waters and also complement the efforts of The Gambia Immigration Department (GID) in deterring irregular migration through our seas. We will not allow any illegal fishing activities in the sea or using wrong fishing nets in our water.”

Accompanied by the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Defence and senior officers of the GAF, the army chief is currently touring the country and visiting military installations with the desire of interacting with soldiers under his command to know their living and working conditions in order to address them.

Tanjeh, he added, is an economic centre of the country due to the high fishing activities at the coastal village. “Therefore, we will continue to expand our deployment in the area and equip our officers with the desire of ensuring that they work with the other security apparatus to not only maintain the country’s peace and stability within the area, but also to ensure that other clandestine activities happening within our territorial waters are arrested.”

The peace and stability of the country, he said, is among the top priorities of President Barrow. “We can’t achieve sustainable development in the absence of peace and stability,” he charged. “We have all the armed and different security services of the country at Tanjeh. Therefore, we should tackle everything within the area.”

Responding to some concerns raised by inhabitants of the area, CDS Cham said: “Given the fact that we have different nationalities in the area, there is a need for people to have ID cards in order to help the security for identification purposes.

“We will also be having spot checks all aimed at deterring problems in the area. We will discuss these at the level of national security.”

He added that the Gambia Navy recently had two boats all geared towards protecting the country.

Back-way syndrome is also a national security threat, he says: “There are also plans in the pipeline to have more boats that will respond to accidents in the seas.”

He urged the community of the area to work closely with the security apparatus of the country, adding: “If you see anyone in the community that is bringing problems or peddling drug and related issues, report the individuals to the authorities so that appropriate actions will be taken.”

During a meeting with the ratings officers of the Navy, CDS Cham assured them of his administration’s continued commitment to building their capacities and also addressing the challenges they are encountering.

“We will build your capacities and provide you with the necessary materials so that you could be patrolling the waters,” he assured. “We don’t want people to be looting our resources or fishing in the wrong zones. Therefore, we have to increase our presence in the area.”

Rohey Bittaye Darboe, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Defence, urged rating and officers of the Navy to continue in their dedications to serve the country and also to safeguard our waters. “We also want you to engage yourselves in productive activities that are geared towards your own growth.”

Without peace and stability, the nation can’t achieve its developmental aspirations,” she says. “Therefore, redouble your efforts in ensuring that the country is well secured. At the level of the ministry, we will continue to work with your high command in order to have the right policies. Be assured that we are working to ensure that we are professional and well standard armed forces.”

Amie Ndure, from the Ministry of Fisheries, called for collaboration in combating illegal fishing in our seas, saying: “We also want the GAF to help the navy of the area with a surveillance boat which will be patrolling the sea to arrest the menace of illegal fishing activities among others.”

Lamin Jammeh, the PRO of the VDC, said: “Our security apparatus in the area are doing a good job. However, we want the high command to help them with vehicles and vessels. The different security apparatus used to patrol the area but it has now reduced due to lack of mobility. Tanjeh is now a dangerous area because we are having different nationalities here.”

By  The Point.

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