The Point (Banjul)

Gambia Pledge U.S.One Million to Mali Military Intervention

The Gambia has pledged the sum of One Million Dollars (US$1m) at the donor's conference on Mali to contribute to the efforts of the African Union to facilitate the deployment of the African- Led International Support Mission in Mali (Afisma) and assist the Malian defence and security forces.

According to a press release, the announcement was made in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Wednesday by the Vice President and Minister for Women's Affairs, Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy during a donor's conference called to assist Mali, which is fighting to regain its losing territory from rebels and extremists forces.

The Gambia's contribution followed the decision for a robust military intervention in which several West African countries are participating.

In making the pledge, according to the press release, Vice President Njie-Saidy reiterated the Gambia's solidarity with the brotherly people of Mali, with whom the Gambia shares historical and cultural ties dating back to many centuries.

She noted that the huge Gambia's financial assistance also reflects the stance of President Jammeh who has condemned the situation in Mali as a blatant act of aggression against the people as well as a threat to sub-regional security.

The Vice President asserted that the Gambia has since the inception of the crisis supported ECOWAS and African initiatives to dislodge the rebels, which has caused death and destruction in Northern Mali.

The strong stance being taken by the Government of The Gambia to help restore Mali's territorial integrity has once again portrayed the country as a peace-loving nation which is committed to safeguarding Africa's independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and the ideals of Pan-Africanism, the release stated.

Meanwhile, it could be recalled that in June last year, the National Assembly considered and approved a motion, allowing The Gambia to send troops to Mali and Guinea Bissau, as part of a regional force heading to these countries.

Though the exact figure of military personnel to be sent to these countries was not revealed, the Vice President and Minister of Women's Affairs, who moved the motion before deputies, said The Gambia will contribute one infantry company for Guinea Bissau and one military police platoon; and an infantry company for Mali.

This, Isatou Njie-Saidy said, was in fulfillment of the country's obligation under the ECOWAS agreement.

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