French military will start training the Gambia’s army as the country’s new President Adama Barrow seeks to give the force a new image.
Gambian and French presidents have agreed to strengthen military cooperation as threats of terrorism pose dangers in the West African region.
Gambia’s President Barrow was invited to France by Francois Hollande to strengthen diplomatic, security and economic relations between the two nations.
Barrow met with Hollande in Bamako, Mali and support the Gambia’s new president when former President Yahya Jammeh refused to cede power.
Britain and France have all pledged to train the Gambia’s military after Barrow came to power. The Gambia’s military has for long backed Jammeh, who is accused of human rights violations.
Terrorists in the region have been attacking popular hotels frequented by Westerners.
Islamist militants took 170 hostages and killed 20 people in a mass shooting at the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, the capital city of Mali and three gunmen opened fire at a beach resort in Grand-Bassam, Ivory Coast, killing at least 19 people and injuring 33 others.
Senegalese authorities say they have intercepted two terrorists, one of them linked to Grand Bassam attack, heading to the Gambia. It has raised concerns over the safety of tourists in the country.
The Gambia’s economy is deeply dependent on tourism and it is the West African nation’s second largest contributor to its GDP.