By Alhagie Jobe
The Gambia Armed Forces have signed a military agreement with their Russian counterparts, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation announced Thursday on its official website.
There is no detailed information as to what is contained in the entire agreement but it is revealed that the military cooperation will include training and technical aid.
Signals of Russia’s military interest in The Gambia were not necessarily a secret as in the summer of 2014, President Jammeh sent his Chief of Staff to Moscow. Shortly after that visit, Victor Ivanov, Russia’s anti-drug chief did not only visit Banjul but Moscow made The Gambia host of its global anti-drug dialogue.
According to the information from the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, the signing ceremony was presided over by Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Colonel General Vasily Tonkoshkurov and the Gambia Armed Forces Chief of General Staff Lieutenant General Ousman Bardji. Colonel General Tonkoshkurov said the agreement is mutually beneficial to both nations.
““We stand for the strengthening of the political dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation including the military and technical one with the Islamic Republic of Gambia,” Tonkoshkurov stated.
The Gambia’s Army Chief Ousman Bardji expressed his confidence that the meeting “will allow to consolidate the points of view on various topical issues and will intensify the development of our relationships”.
The Gambia traditionally gets training and aid from the U.S., British and Turkish Army but since rights abuses became evident, the U.S. and Britain withheld their support leaving only Turkey, which often gives only technical aid. The invasion of Libya also affected training support for The Gambia’s military, where many of its officers received commando lessons.