Guinea Bissau — The Chiefs of Defence Staff and Inspector-Generals of Police of Troop/Police Contributing Countries to the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau (ECOMIB) have called for the strengthening mission's field operations.
At their meeting held on 28th May 2013 in Bissau, chaired by Gen. Soumaïla Bakayoko, Côte d'Ivoire's Chief of Defence Staff and Chairman, Committee of ECOWAS Chiefs of Defence Staff (CCDS), the regional defence chiefs also recommended that ECOMIB should be empowered with a Maritime and Air Units to enhance it operational capability.
The meeting equally recommended the elimination of bureaucratic bottlenecks that hamper the success of the Mission's field operations and the amelioration of the living conditions of troops in the mission, especially their accommodation and allowances considering the high cost of living in Guinea Bissau.
The defence and police chiefs also called for the operationalization of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the ECOWAS Commission and the troops/police contributing countries in relation to the refund of expenses incurred by the contributing countries as well as the effective implementation of the Defence and Security Sector Reform (DSSR) in Guinea Bissau.
In his opening address to the meeting, Guinea Bissau's Prime Minister Mr. Rui Duarte Barros expressed the country's appreciation for the support by ECOWAS Member States s and called on ECOWAS and the International Community to assist the country as it prepares for national elections.
Gen. Bakayoko expressed satisfaction at the progress made by the region in Guinea Bissau and congratulated the ECOMIB Force Commander, Col-Major Barro Gnibanga and the troops for a job well done, despite the difficult conditions under which they operate.
The ECOWAS Special Representative in Guinea Bissau, Ambassador Ansumana Ceessay, commended ECOWAS for its initiatives in Guinea Bissau and noted that the success of ECOMIB “has gone beyond our wildest imagination.”
The Chief of Staff of the ECOWAS Standby Force, Brigadier-General Hassan Lai represented the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Mrs. Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman at the meeting which preceded the official hoisting of the ECOMIB flag at a colourful parade jointly mounted by military and police contingents of the mission on 27th May, 2013.