The exercise, conducted by the sub-regional grouping in 2017 following the departure of former President Yahya Jammeh, was headed by a team of specialists from Small Arms Division of ECOWAS, Mining Action Group, Bonn International Centre (BICC), the Defense and Security Advisor of ECOWAS to The Gambia, and the Commander of the regional peacekeeping force in The Gambia – ECOMIG.
According to a statement from the President’s Office, the ECOWAS Special Envoy to The Gambia Mrs. Vabah Gayflor who led the team to State House, explained that the exercise was necessary to ensure that the status and situation of weapons and ammunition in the country are known.
“We knew there was a lot of small arms proliferation. We also know that it requires technical expertise to manage all of that and the infrastructure that is in place to make sure the country was safe,” Gayfor was quoted as saying.
She said sub-regional body partnered with the German group, BICC, which specializes in controlling arms and supporting disarmament, to conduct this exercise.
Following the closed-door presentation, the Minister of Interior, Hon. Ebrima Mballow explained to the State House media corps that the exercise was conducted to document the stockpile of weapons and ammunition in The Gambia, after the fall of the former regime.
“Today, we are here to witness the presentation of the report to the Head of State concerning where these weapons are, their nature and capacity. The assessment team had done their work judiciously to compile a comprehensive report for the government,” he concluded.