The officials of the ECOWAS Military Intervention in the Gambia (ECOMIG) wonder why any one will condemn and blame them for a few crimes committed instead of being encouraged to double up.

In a reaction to a Freedom Newspaper article, ECOMIG Spokesman Commander Andy La-Anyane says the mission’s work is appreciated by majority of Gambians.

Read below ECOMIG statement in full:

ECOMIG REACTS TO “FREEDOM” STORY

The attention of ECOMIG has been drawn to a news report carried by the Freedom online newspaper of Saturday the 21st of October 2017 seeking to question the relevance of ECOMIG in The Gambia and suggesting that the deployment of ECOMIG forces has not helped to reduce crime rate in the country. The story which is attributed to one of the leading political figures in the Gambia further alleges that “despite the presence of ECOMIG forces in the country, people are being attacked, robbed and killed by criminals.”

First of all, we wish to state that as professional soldiers drawn from three West African countries, ECOMIG will not be drawn into any local Gambia politics since that is outside the mandate of our operations. ECOMIG was deployed to protect and help provide a secure and peaceful environment to all Gambians and not a selected few.

Secondly, ECOMIG would wish to place on record that since its deployment in The Gambia, it has worked and continue to work closely with all the security agencies, especially the Gambia Armed Forces, the Gambia Police Force and the State Intelligence agencies in the provision of security for all Gambians. This we believe, has contributed significantly to the reduction of crime rate in the country.

The day and night joint patrols conducted by ECOMIG forces and our Gambian counterparts are seen and appreciated by majority of our brothers and sisters of The Gambia. We are therefore surprised that we will rather be condemned and blamed for a few crimes committed instead of being encouraged to even do more. This is demoralizing! For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to state a few statistics of the outcome of our joint patrols with the police force in particular for the record. On 29th September 2017, our troops conducted joint patrols with the Gambia security forces in the vicinities of Serekunda, Senegambia and Kairaba. A total of nineteen (19) people suspected to be involved in various crimes were arrested and handed over to the police.

On 13th October 2017, the ECOMIG force in collaboration with the Gambia police force conducted joint night patrols and made twenty-five (25) arrests of people suspected to be criminals and were operating in the night. Most of these suspects were found with drugs and other weapons that could be used to commit serious crimes.

The latest joint patrols conducted on 14th October 2017 resulted in the arrest of a total of forty-seven (47) people suspected to be criminals. Most of these arrested people have been processed whilst the rest are being processed by the police for court. These are but a few of our operations to assist the local security agencies to prevent crime. We thought this was obvious.

ECOMIG wish to urge all political actors in The Gambia to channel their energies in building the confidence of the citizens in their security agencies. If the confidence of the Gambians are lost in the police especially, it may lead to total anarchy and people will resort to taking the law into their own hands. Unfortunately when law and order breaks down and it resorts to conflict, it is the vulnerable and weak in society that will suffer the most. This cannot be accepted.

Finally, we wish to remind all media actors of their professional journalistic roles of protecting the security of the country by not helping to run down state agencies. It cannot be true that ECOMIG command cannot be reached at any given time. This is a lazy escape route that must stop. We are always ready to respond to any enquiries.

Commander Andy La-Anyane

ECOMIG Spokesman, Commander Andy La-Anyane

Ends

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