Scores of Senegalese soldiers deployed to The Gambia as part of the ECOWAS military stabilization Mission in The Gambia (ECOMIG) have tested positive for coronavirus, a Senegalese army official has confirmed today.
“Nearly 100 Senegalese soldiers tested positive this week for the coronavirus after returning home from a deployment in neighboring Gambia“, Colonel Mactar Diop, the Senegalese army director of Information and public relations (DIRPA) explained. He however added that he is yet to know how the soldiers may have been infected with the virus while in Banjul.
The majority of the troops deployed to The Gambia by the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) to enforce President Adama Barrow’s election victory over then-President Yahya Jammeh are from Senegal. They have been in The Gambia since January 2017 after the country’s former dictator, Yahya Jammeh, refused to hand over power.
President Adama Barrow citing ongoing reforms in The Gambia and a fragile political situation in the country has recently requested for an extension of the ECOMIG troops stay in The Gambia. Their term ended on June 30th. Many of these soldiers have been interacting with people in various part of the country, including top government officials and even officials at the State House since the Coronavirus appeared in The Gambia. In observance of the World Health organization’s guidelines, the Senegalese army has decided to apply the protocols on the troops recently back from Banjul.
Colonel Mactar Diop, the Senegalese army director of Information and public relations (DIRPA) therefore said testing of the contingent of 600 soldiers, who have returned from Banjul will continue.