On Saturday 25 December 2021, GAF QRF 2 comprising of 250 personnel returned from The Republic of Turkey after three month long training. It could be recalled that sometime in October 2021, 250 GAF personnel dubbed GAMCOY QRF 2 were airlifted to The Republic of Turkey for training. The group landed in Banjul after the successful completion of a much cherished training in a different terrain altogether. According to the Contingent Commander Lieutenant Colonel Amadou Bojang, the training was a specialized and tailored one centering on UN peacekeeping procedures and advance military tactics. He was also quick to highlight the special gains made in the field of convoy operations, mine awareness drills amongst a cadre of peace operation courses. The training package is part of a series earmarked amongst others for Gambian QRF contingents to undergo prior to deployment in a peacekeeping environment.
The troops were received at the Banjul International Airport by the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff Major General Mamat O Cham together with some GAF top brass. General Cham welcomed them back home and commended them for the good conduct they showed while in Turkey, noting that no adverse report or misconduct of any individual has reached the Defence Headquarters.
In a similar but separate engagement, 250 GAF personnel under the umbrella of QRF 3 left Banjul for Isparta, The Republic of Turkey for similar trainings. This occurred in the early hours of Sunday 26 December 2021. They were bade farewell by the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff Major General Mamat O Cham and other senior officers of the GAF. On the Turkish side however, Her Excellency the Turkish Deputy Ambassador to The Gambia Dilara Salmanli had the privilege of addressing the travelling troops while wish them well in their training endeavors in Turkey. In addressing the troops shortly before taking off, HE the Turkish Deputy Ambassador to The Gambia Dilara Salmanli said this about Turkey-Gambia relations “our military cooperation is one of the main pillars of our long lasting friendship. Since early 1990s, we have been committed to intensifying our support to the Gambia Armed Forces in the areas of training and logistical support”. She further noted that Turkey has vast experience in international peacekeeping missions and reconstruction of crises regions while stating that the training programme that QRF 2 had undergone and that QRF 3 will undergo in Turkey is part sharing Turkish experience and knowhow in peacekeeping with the GAF.
Talking about the new opportunities such programmes bring, HE Salmanli posited this “This is not only military training programme but also a good instrument in developing our people to people relations. Because a new language opens all kinds of doors to new cultures, new friendships and brings professional opportunities.”
She was accompanied to the tarmac by Maarif Schools Foundation Director in the Gambia Ibrahim SERT; TIKA representative M. Akif EYIGUN and Turkish Military Adviser Colonel Guven DEMIR
QRF 3 is led by Lieutenant Colonel Abdoulie Jatta who until recently was the GAF’s Director of Operations at the Defence Headquarters in Banjul.