Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) has reacted to viral videos and photos where men in uniform are shown reportedly lowering a banner with the face of opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) mayoral candidate, Talib Ahmed Bensouda.
A press release signed by Lieutenant Colonel Lamin Sanyang, GAF’s director of press and public relations, explains the content of the banner while acknowledging the attention the videos and photos have drawn.
“The Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) High Command has noted with regret several reports on social media showing images and videos of individuals in military uniform lowering a banner somewhere in the Greater Banjul Area. The said banner contains an advertisement for a Wrestling Competition in which Mayor Talib Ahmed Bensouda of the United Democratic Party (who is one of the contenders in the Kanifing Municipal Council mayoral elections) is flanked by two wrestlers. The images show the individuals apparently lowering the banner which drew a lot of observations and comments from the general public both in The Gambia and abroad,” the press release narrates.
The release describes the incident as “isolated”, adding that the forces’ high command has given directive for prompt investigations and that actions will be taken against anyone found culpable.
“The GAF wishes to clarify that this behaviour, on the part of these individuals, is not representative of what it stands for as an institution. The position of GAF, since the dawn of the new dispensation, is very clear; that its personnel should not participate in partisan politics, incitement of tribal and religious sentiments. It may be gratifying to state that a lot has been achieved by GAF in this endeavour during the period under review hence its position as a neutral and apolitical institution. This is a posture that the Armed Forces will uphold and continue to propagate within its ranks. Therefore, GAF considers this act as an isolated incident. Notwithstanding, the GAF High Command has given directives for an immediate investigation to be conducted into the matter. We wish to assure the general public that appropriate actions will be taken against anyone found wanting,” the press release states.
GAF concludes that it regrets any inconvenience this unfortunate incident might have caused.