Staff Sergeant Lamin Jarju, has calls for the withdrawal of the West African troops—ECOMIG. He couldn’t understand the rationale behind ECOMIG’s continued presence in the tiny West African nation. Jarju contends that it is the job of Gambian soldiers to protect their people and the country’s territorial integrity. “Having seen foreign soldiers in our country, it is not helping. We are soldiers that are bound to work with any President that comes. We must be loyal to any President that comes. No matter how long a stick lives in water, it shall never turn to a crocodile. No matter how long foreigners stay in our country, they must go one day. We are from you people, and to you we shall go back to,” he told the TRRC.
The ECOMIG troops have been in Banjul for over three years. They were deployed to Banjul, following Jammeh’s refusal to step down from power back in December of 2016.
Jarju thinks that ECOMIG’s continued presence in the country wouldn’t make them Gambian soldiers, hence he said, the constitutional role of The Gambian soldier shouldn’t be outsourced.
Adducing evidence before the TRRC, Jarju said it is about time for Gambians to change their mind set towards Gambian soldiers. He says the soldiers are no enemies to the civilian population.
Jarju has also expressed the need for Gambians to safeguard their country’s sovereignty.
“Apart from that, I heard a journalist, who said The Gambia doesn’t need an army, that we are surrounded by Senegal, each time we need an intervention, we will call upon them to come and intervene. I want everyone to understand that The Gambia is a sovereign state. In fact, we speak two different languages, so, let us not fool ourselves. We are a sovereign state and we are here to stand for ourselves,” he said.
Jarju added that as soldiers, they are duty bound to be loyal to The Gambian state and the President in power. He says nothing is going to make them to betray their oath of allegiance to the state. He says they are determined to die in defending The Gambia come what may.