Some 196 members of the Gambia Armed Forces, will leave the country today for the war-torn country of Darfur, Sudan. The gallant men and women, comprising 6 officers and 190 personnel of other ranks will mark the fourth Gambian batch to leave for Sudan.
The contingent which is set to join and operate alongside other peacekeepers from different parts of the African continent, in support of the African Union's peace initiative is expected to keep the Gambian flag flying high.
It is indeed a stiff challenge. However, if the outstanding performances in peacekeeping missions that The Gambia Armed Forces have been associated with over the years, are anything to go by, one can safely conclude that this contingent will surely bring us glory and safeguard the good reputation of the country.
The formidable level of gallantry shown by Gambian peacekeepers has indeed endeared the GAF to the United Nations. This is an added feather to our cap and we have all rights to rejoice over it.
Members of this contingent may be excited. However, this may be shortlived due to the fact that they are being deployed to reach out and offer assistance to people who suffer from the pangs of wars and are being deprived of many of their basic needs and wants.
Of course the participation of this batch in the AU's peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance operations will no doubt put them in a very special and honourable position. Courageous services to one's nation is what every officer and soldier looks forward to and Gambians have no doubt whatsoever that this fourth batch will bring forth pride to the nation.
The soldiers have a chance to proof their worth and defend the integrity of The Gambia, by putting their acquired skills to the test in aiding people who are in distress. For them to succeed, they have to be confident. There is no need to despair though they are bound to experience cultural shock by operating alongside other soldiers of different languages and cultures. There is also the need for them to consider the Sudanese as their brothers and respect their religions, traditions and cultures.