In his rebuttal to my open letter to the Armed Forces of The Gambia (Freedom News Paper, Jan 2nd. 2014), retired Lt. Col. Lamin Gano has mentioned few key points which are misleading and perhaps false. I am writing this now because someone just brought the article to my attention and after re-reading it, I cannot help but clarify those points to the readership and to men and women of the Gambia’s Armed Forces and for them to make their own objective judgment as to the accuracy of the claims.
First, I will start with this in his own words. “I can say with utmost authority and confidence (and debate with anyone who wants to take me on this) that The Gambia Armed Forces is one of the most professional, disciplined and competently militaries not only in Africa but in the whole world”……
Quite a statement but in reality, professional military will owe their allegiance to the constitutions of the country not the leadership. They will uphold the law which means not harassing, detaining, torturing and more importantly not killing innocent helpless people. A professional soldier will try and win the heart and souls of those he/she is sworn to defend and protect and not instill fear, hopelessness and despair just because he (the soldier) has guns and bullets. And that defense and protection includes even from those in power and authority. That is what I understand as professionalism and competent military.
Putting on a uniform should not be about power but humility, selflessness, duty to your fellow human beings (even those you never heard of or met). You put your life on line so that they can have lives, they can have liberty and pursue their happiness at your own expense. That is professionalism and that is competence. You as soldier must not aid or abet tyranny, and be agents of fear , intimidation and be part of a system that destroys lives of so many people. Yes that is professionalism and competence.
For over twenty two years, Gambians have endured the wrath of a dictator and tyrant and who are helping him? The Armed Forces of the Gambia. For over twenty two years, Mr. Gano under his watchful eyes, witnessed the systemic torture, disappearances, illegal detentions of endless Gambians by the very establishment he was part of. I am surprised that he would stick his neck out for them? Negative. For over sixteen years he, served a leader who pay no attention to the very constitution he and the rest of the Armed Forces were sworn to defend but fail to perform their duty to do so. That is not professionalism or competence. If you help a criminal to commit crime, you are as guilty as the criminal. Can you live with your conscience knowing that you have helped killed an innocent person, leaving their families in persistent pain and sufferings? Can you call your self professional when your bullets cause a child fatherless because you killed his or her innocent parent? How many Gambians have been killed or being sent to the slammer not based on the law of the land but on the order of the president who has no constitutional authority to do so? Yes that is not professionalism or competence.
Let me move on to your next misleading statement. In your own word here I quote you sir and with all due respect.
“Every single military personnel in the world and every person with the knowledge/involvement with the military knows that the backbone/foundation for military professionalism, competence and discipline is the strict adherence to the chain of command and respect and obedience to the orders/instructions of superior commanders. The level of professionalism of professionalism of any military in the world is greatly determined and judged by the degree to which its personnel obeys and upholds the orders/instruction of their superior commanders. This is one of the factors that makes the US Military one of the most effective fighting forces in the world”
Again Mr. Gano is wrong and and is misleading, and I stand by that statement. It is not the strict adherence to obey the orders of a superior that is the foundation of military professionalism , competence and discipline but rather the orders have to be legal, moral and ethical. Every military personnel can and should disobey an order that is illegal, immoral and unethical. That is what the United States military members are taught from basic entry training to each time he/she is deployed. As far as discipline is concerned, U.S military is not most effective just because of that level of discipline but many factors most important is their respect for rule of law, ability to look beyond their present moment and their ability to win the hearts and minds of those they are paid defend and protect and that includes the constitution of the land. No military member can give the excuse “I am just following order” especially in the United States military so please don’t preach me about U.S. military Mr. Gano
When Mr Gano gave an example of U.S. drone hitting a wedding ceremony in Yemen on December 12, 2013 killing 12 and injuring 14, he stated that if those personnel who conducted the drone attacks should receive the same order right now to repeat the same action, they would obey the order without the slightest hesitation.
Again this is false and misleading. First when the drone hit that wedding ceremony, it happened based on faulty intelligence not based on deliberate act of sabotage. If the order was given again and that they know for certain that those people were innocent , I can bet my life that they will never follow such orders because it is illegal, immoral and unethical. Men and women of the United States military are too decent and have moral conscience and as such will not be involved in a deliberate act of killing innocent civilian.
Finally, I want Mr. Gano to know that military profession is a noble and sacred . Those who put on the uniform must be brave and decent enough to stand up and defend the very innocent people they are paid to protect. There is constitution in the Gambia and Yahya Jammeh doesn’t give a rat ass to it and none of you have the audacity to stand up to him . He broke every law on the book and you helped him either because you are afraid of him or you are an opportunist. Either way, it is wrong to victimize innocent people.
I am sure and I believe that there are thousands of decent soldiers in the Gambia right now who want to do the right thing but people like Gano stood in their way. You created an environment of mistrust and empowered a tyrannical dictator and you now want him to give up the very power that you helped solidified. That is hypocrisy at its best and very cowardice. You very much know that Jammeh is never going to give power voluntarily. So therefore forcibly removing becomes the only viable option out there. It can only be achieve when there is the will, the trust, wittiness , and moral conscience among the members of the Gambian Armed Forces. Jammeh has done too much damage to our country and removing him becomes a necessity.
I love Gambia a lot and it is very heartbreaking and beyond belief to see our people suffer this much and this long. There is no excuse for anyone not to speak against what is happening their or not to even act and end it all for everyone.
God bless our people and may He gives them all the courage to stand up for justice and rule of law. Yahya Jammeh must be removed by any means necessary.
United States of America
Mr. M. Jabbi; Would you please single out for me any country throughout the whole world, whose so-called professional Armforces don’t or have never commit /commited a crime against humanity? And please, do not regard my comment, as if I am defending Lamin Gano, I don’t know him at all, but I want the Gambians to judge him fairly. How many ex- Security officese from the Gambian Armforce living in USA and Europe, came out publicly and announced their opposition to the APRC Regime?
Yankuba Jobe, I think you should not be asking irrelevant and nonsensical question which has nothing to do with current Gambian situation and most importantly the role of Gambian military in oppressing citizens. Your efforts to have untruthful alliances with those Gambians who have participated in human right abuses, corruption and political thuggery like your brother Baba Kajali Jobe, in whose defense you continue to show malicious and nefarious agenda. Whether other Gambian ex military officers speak against APRC, is irrelevant in my view. There are other Gambians who have been speaking up before Lt col Gano but these ex-soliders have not occupied high positions in the military, did not lie to journalists when asked relevant question but simply deserted the military because they do not want to be part of human right abuses. What justification are you suggesting in relation to crimes against humanity by other armed forces, which should warrant our military to participate and aid the Dictator to oppress Gambian people. In all your contributions, it is about individual and I think that shows how narrow minded and self centered your views are.
Maxs, I am not sured, if you know the difference between a word “justification and a word called comparision”. You are making yourself foolish to everyone, which is very sad indeed.
Mr Jabbi , thank you very much for your enlighten article about the roles of professional military in our country which is to defend the constitution but a not a blind loyalty to the Dictator . The problem about Gambian military is that majority are very ignorance of their roles and responsibilities , therefore as soon as they get out of their military training , they do not have any respect and love for the very civilians they are pay to protect and defend . Gambian military should behave like boys who have gone through traditional circumcision because during this process , Boys are taught about respect , love and responsibility to the community . This is exactly what you will see in USA military personnel right after their graduation from training and the rest of their career . USA military respect the constitution and sacrifice on behalf of the people . It is the same reason we saw people like captain jagne who had every opportunity to live a decent and successful life , went back to the Gambia to defend the constitution and Gambian people while Lt col Gano sat down unconcerned about human rights violations , corruption and political oppression . Lt col Gano is trying to take advantage of those ignorance citizens who may see his cheap call for Jammeh to step down . He very well knew that Jammeh is not going to listen to his cheap call .
Majority of Gambian military lack sense of patriotism . Col Ndure Cham had informed Lt col Gano about all the wrongs committed by Jammeh and why they need to remove him but he cowardly objected to that idea . Today he is looking for cheap popularity and opportunity to be recognized among Gambians , knowing fully well that a tyrant he affectionately supported is seeing the beginning of his downfall . Lt col Gano should be awared that he has to be accountable to Gambian people . There are many atrocities committed under his watch when he was chief spokesman for the army . Gambia army is like militia group who are completely loyal to their boss , the dictator Yaya Jammeh. The mere fact that Gambian military have jugulars unit which carry out killings on behalf of the president , clearly indicate that it is not a professional army . A professional army which conduct solidarity March for the leadership is not only a joke but incompetent and ignorance . A professional military who harass and intimidate civilians on daily basis , has outright failed in its responsibility to protect citizenry . Gambian military is anything but professional . From their commander in chief , their learn the culture of harassment , intimidation , killings and oppression of civilians .
Next government has huge responsibility to ensure that Gambian military truly understand their roles which is to defend the constitution and be totally loyal to people of The Gambia at all times . Lt col Gano needs to be educated , he can only fool ignorance Gambians but those who are aware and knows the responsibility of any professional military , knows that he has woefully failed Gambian people during his tenure in the Gambian military .
I hope Yankuba Jobe and Yero Ba and many who continue to support or listen to Lt col Gano on his misleading statements will know there are patriotic and intelligent Gambian like mr Jabbi and others who truly understand that Lt col Gano was a coward who oppressed Gambian people and has no moral authority to ask Jammeh to step down . USA military has highest respect for civilians , rule of law and the constitution . Today if you go to Gambia’s statehouse in Banjul or kanillia , you will see general Saul Badgie , Dictator Yaya Jammeh and other top military officials involved in rape of young Gambian girls with total impunity . Jammeh used his top military officials to intimidate and harassed civilians. He used these military officers to look after his various mistresses across the country . The top military officers like Saul Badjie , general Martin ( now fired ) , general Ousman Badgie, general borry Colley , landing Jammeh solo Bojang , and others ex military officers were all used as errand boys for Jammeh’s sexual satisfaction . These are military officers jammeh would assigned to look after these young vulnerable girls In the form of monitoring and to ensure that their needs her meets as well as for his sexual gratification .These military officers work with protocol officers like Jimbey jammeh and other closed family Members to exploit these girls for Jammeh’s sexual satisfaction . Currently general Borry coley is the man in charge as chief pimp for Jammeh’s sexual gratification . Some of these generals got into problems when they failed to carry out Jammeh’s illegal orders and majority of his top military officials have total disregard to the constitution and rule of law . Imagine a military officers like Lt col solo Bojang who spend ten years as herdsmen on Jammeh’s farm, looking after his Cattles . Today he is languishing in prison even when he was discharged by the courts . Lt col solo Bojang was ignorance soldier who has no regard for the constitution and people of The Gambia . Our military is full of such ignorance soldiers . Lt col Gano used to be the same camp with these soldiers. He is not decent and honest as he claimed to be . There are countless horror stories being committed by these military officers and the jugulars who are part of Jammeh’s security details . Lt Michael corear, W2 Rambo , Yusupha Bagie and many others are all part of these killing squad . Most Gambians are already aware of these killers who are all exposed by freedomnewspaper early on . Gambian military is simply a militia force with trial favoritism and preferential treatment of jolas.
The writer must be living in a cave. Do you remember the 2003 Iraq war and how the US military abused the prisoners making them pyramids while naked. The US and Nato unlawfully went to Libya and see what is happening there now.
The US military sponsoring rebels in Syria. That’s even against the UN charter.
What are you talking about professionalism. Please don’t down Gambian people just because you are on asylum. The Gambian people are very professional regardless of military or civilian.
Malang, just because US did it doesn’t make it right. The Gambia was known for her respect for the rule of law. The way we were brought up was to fear God, respect each other. I do not recall penchant disregard of human rights during the PPP era.
We owe it to our children to pass down the Gambia that was passed down to US.
I will pray that no one kills anyone of your family members on the side of the road in broad day light like a dog. I pray to Allah no one sends any of your family members to jail without trial.
I will pray no one sends your parents to jail for no reason.
My brother when your house is on fire I will not sit down and fold my hands because if I do not assist you the fire might come burn mine. WE have to first of all feel each other’s pain.
@ The Hammer, my embrassment is when Gambians are this much desperate with the status quo in the Gambia to be comparing its broken down political process to the U.S foreign policies and activities.
It is no problem at all, indeed pride, when one day the political slogan of the Gambia becomes;’Gambia has no common friend but a common national interest’.
@Malang, I think you have every capacity to relay to our African dictators, to try sincerely watch what they do to their fellow citizens in effort of repressing their demands for democracy and the rule of law within those specific countries rather than evasively expressing their resentment to U.S prisoners’ turture during the Iraq war.
Mr Gano is wrong to call the Gambia Armed Forces, “professional”, never mind “one of the most professional”, but please, don’t do worse than Mr Gano…
You are having a laugh if you think the US Army don’t support dictatorships…Who is propping up all the brutal dictators of the Gulf States ?
Who dropped atomic bombs on densely populated civilian cities in Heroshima and Nakazaki..? You call that institution of mass murderers, “professional ?”
Who used “white phosphorus” on Iraqi cities causing untold suffering to the civilian population ? What about napalm bombs in Vietnam ?
Please, let’s condemn Mr Gamo for his foolish claims but let’s not become another “Gano” for US Military…
Bax, there is a difference when an army is at war with foreign country or when it is at war with the citizens who pay their salary. Gambian military has been conducting a silence war and brutality on the citizens since 1994. Within USA, you will never see a solider abusing, threatening or carrying out illegal orders against fellow citizens. This is where professionalism comes to play. Don’t you see daily harassment, intimidation and killings by jugulars and other members of Jammeh’s military forces. There are number of deaths associated with Jammeh especially children when he threw biscuits when the military vehicles are passing .Before you jump to conclusion about USA military, you need to know the differences. Even in the war time, USA military has highest standard of professionalism. This is why you have some USA forces who violated war rules of engagement or other code of conduct, face military justice. This happens in many places where USA forces engaged in a war in foreign countries. It happened in Iraq and Afghanistan as well. If there is actionable intelligence error during drone strikes, USA military will take full responsibility and take further measures. In the case of The Gambia, recently Binta Jarju was brutality killed by Jammeh for the reason best known to him and nothing comes out of it. So you can’t compare the two. Within USA, I have never seen any military checkpoints whereas in the tiny and poorest nation of The Gambia, you will see gun yielding untrained and ignorance military in every 3 kilometers within the greater Banjul areas and From Tabokoto to Soma. The goal is to terrorize the citizens because there is no war in our country. Military should have humility and respect for citizens. USA military have the most humility which I have never seen in The Gambia. Most Gambian military are arrogant and have no respect for those who pay their salary. In USA, there is accountability and leadership never instructed military to engage in unethical, illegal and immoral act. Any solider involve in such behavior, must face justice or the law. I don’t think you can even compare the two military. What is Gambian military capable of doing in terms of research, healthcare, engineering and so on. African military are the biggest liability of Africa. Majority are only good at harassing civilian, intimidation and coup plot. I think next government should ensure that citizens are legally armed to protect themselves.
Max….There is no comparison here. Except for Mr Gano and people like him, many here are agreed that the Gambia Army is not professional and we can substantiate this claim with tangible evidence, a few of which you have mentioned.
The problem is showcasing the US Armed Forces as being the model for professionalism… You are absolutely right that US citizens do not face harassment and terror from their own security forces (without a genuine reason) but I don’t think the definition of professionalism should only be confined to how an army treats its own people…
Max, every undisciplined soldier or the institution they represent, will give reasons to justify its actions and if they can get away with unprofessional behaviour, they surely will do.
American servicemen get held to account because of the public awareness and active involvement in their country’s affairs. The fact that only the “small fish” get punished after much foot dragging and reluctance is ample evidence that the authorities would have buried such issues, but for public pressure.
But even in a war situation, professional soldiers adhere to the standard of their profession, as well as, globally set standards for conflict, and the deliberate killing of unarmed civilians or the irresponsible arming of undisciplined fighters, is UNPROFESSIONAL, to say the least.
Gambian servicemen get away with it because of the absence of this awareness and active involvement.
So holding offenders to account, even in.the US, is not a testimony of professionalism, but rather, of “citizen power”, I would contend..
And mark you, many of these acts of unprofeasionalism by individuals or groups, are either sanctioned by the institutions’ highest authorities or with their knowledge..
Water bording at GITMO, for example, (an act considered as TORTURE and carried out by personnel of the US Army and intelligence) is sanctioned by the very highest in the US administration…Such actions compromise claims of professionalism of the US Armed Forces…That’s my point…Not making any comparison with the GNA because there’s none to make.