Monday, April 22, 2024

ECOMIG and Local Communities Collaborate for Humanitarian Aid in The Gambia

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By Adama Sanneh

The ECOWAS Mission in The Gambia, through the Senegalese contingent’s 7th battalion in Kanfenda village, collaborated with the Foni Infantry battalion to donate food items to 20 families in Mandina and Boulountou villages, aiming to strengthen relations between the ECOMIG forces and the locals.

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The items included 25kg of rice, a 5-liter gallon of cooking oil, 5kg of sugar, and two packs of milk powder to help ease the food burden during Ramadan.

Welcoming the gesture, Alkalo Alagie Jatta of Mandina/Boulountou and Chief Ali Nyassi of Foni Kansala expressed their appreciation to the Senegalese contingent’s 7th battalion for the initiative.

“This initiative manifests the unity between the ECOMIG forces and the surrounding villages, showing that we can coexist peacefully. We used to be afraid to interact with the ECOMIG forces, but such initiatives will build trust between us,” the Alkalo said.

“Senegalese and Gambians are one people; we have families in Casamance and other parts of Senegal. Thus, such initiatives help us work together without fear or distrust. Giving such gestures during this holy month of Ramadan is truly commendable,” Chief Nyassi added.

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He urged the ECOMIG forces to continue strengthening the good relationship they have built with the local communities, as it would bring mutual benefits to both the villagers and the soldiers.

Lieutenant Khadimou Rasool Boye of the Senegalese Battalion explained the purpose of such initiatives between the military and civilians, aiming to foster collaboration in fulfilling their mission in The Gambia.

“The reason we came from Senegal to The Gambia is for peace and unity. I want you all to understand that you’re the reason we are here, and we appreciate your support. There are many initiatives we want to bring to this and other communities,” Lieutenant Boye stated.

He further revealed plans to provide medical interventions and other important initiatives to support the communities.

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Major Abdoulie Baldeh, the representative of the Foni Infantry Battalion commanding officer, commended the efforts of the Senegalese contingents, including the Gambia Armed Forces, in such initiatives, which symbolize mutual respect between the two forces.

Lieutenant Colonel Sedy Fall, Contingent Commander of the 7th battalion Senegalese Detachment in The Gambia, highlighted the significance of such initiatives, emphasizing their commitment to supporting communities in need.

“Our presence here is to support our neighbors in need. We believe in Ramadan; it is good to share what you have with your neighbors as our religion teaches us. We thank the Gambia Armed Forces for closely working with us and supporting our efforts,” Lieutenant Col. Fall emphasized.

He mentioned that the donation of food items is not their only initiative; they have also provided a 5000-liter tank for the Bwiam Market, speakers for a mosque in Kanfenda, and supported communities during school athletics, all to complement their previous efforts.

Major Maxwell Asola, the first Press Officer, also thanked the Gambia Armed Forces for closely supporting their efforts to help people in the communities. “For the past six to seven months, it is the first time we’ve seen the Gambian Armed Forces joining hands in such a program, thanks to the initiative of the Chief of Defense Staff, Lieutenant General O. A Cham.”

On behalf of the beneficiaries, Malick Bojang expressed gratitude for the donors’ gesture, especially for families facing hardships during Ramadan. “This is the first time we have benefited from such a program, and we are indeed grateful to the donors.”

The Senegalese Contingent’s 7th Battalion Detachment in The Gambia at Kanfenda promised to bring more initiatives to foster unity and love between the forces and civilians.

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