250 GAF Personnel to Receive Combat Training for UN Peace Mission
The Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) is set to train military personnel on combat missions who are to be deployed on a UN Peacekeeping.
The personnel, 250 men and women of the Gambia Armed Forces Quick Reaction Force (QRF-1), are to benefit from this training from the British Peace Support Team (BPST), scheduled from September to November 2021 with the assistance of the GAF Training School.
This training will consist of particular areas such as; explosive hazard awareness training, support weapons training, snipers, mortar combat, engineering and anti-tank, team medic, fire integration, intelligence and surveillance reconnaissance integration, among others. These skills aim at developing capabilities of the UN QRF-1 GAF company to the UN mission.
The Operation Officer for the Quick Reaction Force (QRF 1), Captain JH Jatta, stresses that this training is to assess and identify the training gaps of the QRF-1 to address those gaps to better prepare, equip and build the capacity and skills of the company.
“Effective and realistic training is the cornerstone of operational success. Through training, leaders, soldiers, and units achieve the tactical and technical competence that builds confidence and agility. These characteristics will allow the QRF-1 to deploy and conduct successful operations across the spectrum of conflict in any UN Peacekeeping Mission”.
According to the Commandant of the Gambia Armed Forces Training School, Major General A Jobe, this training culminated in a GAF virtual advisory meeting held sometime with the UN as part of procedures, following a pledge made by the GAF High Command to deploy a Quick Reaction Force.
“In November 2020, the Gambia Armed Forces conducted a virtual advisory meeting with the United Nations, as part of the procedure, following a pledge made by the High Command to deploy a quick reaction force into one of the United Nation’s peace support operation mission. As a result, capability gaps were identified by the GAF, which our colleagues, Lt Col Charles Cooper, and the British Operation Team Support in Kenya, after necessary consultation were able to facilitate the delivery of necessary training to Quick Reaction Force.”
The Gambia Armed Forces have an excellent track record of discipline and professionalism in UN Peacekeeping Missions over the years. This deployment of 250 personnel would earmark yet another peace mission that the Gambia Armed Forces personnel would be embarking upon.
“It’s important that any army keeps getting operational experience so they can keep evolving and improving. And that’s why the United Nations is very keen to partner with the GAF to improve the operational effectiveness of the UN and more base international order to fight hard to maintain peace. That’s why we are delighted to be partnering with you. You’ll be the first badge back into operation. So continue that great legacy that the GAF have on UN operations,” said British Defense Advisor to GAF, Lieutenant Colonel C Cooper
Meanwhile, addressing the team, Lieutenant Colonel M.O. Cham said as part of GAF preparation to better equip the personnel to be deployed, they have secured with a company to purchase the required equipment requested by the UN.
“When the Chief of Defense Staff of the Gambia Armed Forces pledged to deploy Gambian QFR Company to the United Nations, we had no idea what the magnitude of the task would be. However, after the pledge, we were asked that to make good. Our pledge must complement our efforts to acquire the ‘critical enablers,’ meaning we have to buy armed personnel carriers and required equipment and logistics to sustain a Quick Reaction Force in a UN Peacekeeping Mission. It has not been easy, but I am happy to report that we have finalized all the procurement arrangements with a company as we speak. Hopefully, the equipment requested by the UN will be coming to this source of the country beginning December January 2022,” he said.
Cham stresses that to maintain world peace, in a world that has continued to see internal and external security threats, men must be ready to fight to keep that peace.
“In the international system that we are in, of course, there’s a rule-based global system, but most of the time, the pursuit of national interest is so intense that at the end of the day, various actors decide to set justice and equity and go by what is convenient.