Gambia: Deputy CDS - Gambia-U.S. Military Ties Cordial

The deputy chief of Defence Staff of The Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) has qualified as 'cordial' the military relations between The Gambia and the United States of America, citing the recent visit to the country by the latter's Naval Swift Vessel.

Major General Saikou Seckan was speaking to the Daily Observer in an interview on Thursday, on board the US HSV Swift Vessel shortly after the closing ceremony of a two-week maritime training for 20 personnel of the Gambia Navy.

The training, jointly organised by the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF), in collaboration with the United States African Partnership Station (APS), was centered on boarding vessels, communication, general maritime security operations, controlling drug trafficking, amongst others.

The training that formed part of the Gambia's collaboration with the US in maritime security issues, according to Deputy CDS Seckan, was also meant to help build the capacity of the Gambia Navy so as to be able to undertake numerous challenges and unlawful activities that take place on sea waters.

Further commenting on their partnership, Deputy CDS Seckan noted that it is important to establish national and regional mechanisms for exchanging of information on matters related to the Trans-Atlantic maritime domain. The communication equipment donated by the US in June 2012, according to him, is a big leap in this direction. He said the effort of the United States through the African Partnership Station in training security forces is yet another practical move that is highly welcomed.

The GAFNo.2 stressed the need for countries within the Trans-Atlantic to cooperate in addressing maritime security issues. He underscored that cooperative efforts could curb criminal activities and extend the range of law enforcement within the sub-region. "Considering the immense benefit of fishing, there is the need for collaborative efforts by the governments therein to combat the menace of poaching," he told the Daily Observer.

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