By Lamin Njie

Two Senegalese soldiers serving with ECOMIG have been deported back to Senegal after they failed to abide by the mission’s Standing Operating Procedures.

Police last Wednesday swooped on a birthday party in Bijilo where they arrested 22 people including two Senegalese soldiers who said they form part of an ECOMIG contingent.

ECOMIG has broken its silence on the issue by confirming two of its soldiers were indeed arrested for violating the curfew and the action it took against them.

The force in a statement signed by its public relations officer Commander Andy La-Anyane said: “The attention of the ECOWAS Mission in the Gambia (ECOMIG) has been drawn to the numerous reports in both traditional and social media concerning the arrest of two of its personnel by the Police Intervention Unit of The Gambia for violating curfew regulations imposed in The Gambia by His Excellency President Adama Barrow. It would be recalled that in August 2020, the Government of The Gambia imposed a night-to-dawn curfew as part of efforts to minimize the spread of the Corona Virus pandemic. Unfortunately, two of our personnel serving at the State House were on 16 September 2020 arrested by The Gambian Intervention Police having violated the stipulated COVID-19 protocols by breaking the curfew.

“ECOMIG states unequivocally that it condemns this act by its personnel. Aside its mandate, ECOMIG has Standing Operating Procedures which guides the conduct of every personnel. In addition to strict disciplinary measures instituted, all ECOMIG troops are constantly advised to abide by all the laws of The Gambia which includes regulations like curfew and other COVID 19 protocols amongst others. It is therefore inappropriate for any of ECOMIG personnel to go contrary to these regulations.

“In order to send a strong message to all ECOMIG personnel and to ensure that no personnel goes against any of these regulations, the two Senegalese soldiers involved have been immediately repatriated to their country. Further disciplinary action is expected to be taken against them upon their arrival back home.

“ECOMIG wishes to assure the good people of The Gambia that it will at all times respect all laws of the country and would not shield any of its personnel who violates them. We will also continue to work closely with the security agencies to ensure a safe and secure environment to enable the citizens go about their normal activities in peace.”