Military scholarship for GAF 3

Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Three young soldiers of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) have received a four-year military training scholarship from the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of China (Taiwan), the Daily Observer can reveal.

Ansumana Gibba, Ousman Jassey and Sang Isaac Jammeh are expected to leave Banjul for the Taiwanese capital city of Taipei this week to commence the training programme in earnest.

Dr Patrick Chang, the Taiwanese ambassador to The Gambia, hosted a farewell dinner for the young gallant soldiers on Monday evening at his ambassadorial residence, where he formally presented the scholarships.

Col Masanneh Kinteh, the deputy chief of Defence Staff of GAF,  Lt. Col Yankuba Drammeh, the chief of Staff of GAF, Commander Sarjo Fofana, the chief of Navy Staff, and Lt Col Biran Saine, the commander of the Gambia National Guards, also attended the dinner, alongside senior officials of the Taiwanese Embassy.

Speaking at the dinner, Ambassador Chang saluted the students for the scholarship. Dr Chang informed the gathering that President Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh, who is the commander-in-chief, attaches great importance to peace and security, especially national defence. He implored the soldiers to optimise the opportunity in order to gain the best from the programme and return home to contribute to the development of the armed forces.

The Taiwanese plenipotentiary told the three young soldiers to see themselves as trailblazers and urged them to lay a solid foundation for the continuity of programme. He expressed hope that more similar opportunities will be available in the future.

Col Masanneh Kinteh, the deputy chief of Defence Staff, who deputised for Brigadier General Lang Tombong Tamba, said GAF is known for its impressive performance in overseas military courses and urged the soldiers to maintain the momentum.

He hinted them about the culture of discipline, hard work and dedication the Asian-Pacific island state offers and implored them exploit these moral lessons. He expressed admiration with the rapid transformation that has taken in Taiwan within 50 years - from abject poverty to a first class modern nation.

Reminding them that they have been hand-picked from the lot,  Col Kinteh urged the young soldiers to return home at the end of their programme in 2012, with flying colours, adding that “I expect you to perform very well and continue the legacy of the Gambia Armed Forces”.

The deputy CDS Kinteh then thanked the government of Taiwan through its embassy in Banjul for the scholarship, observing that the cooperation between Banjul and Taipei should cut across all sectors. He thanked the ambassador on behalf of GAF for the support and for hosting the dinner .

Author: by Ebrima Jaw Manneh