A number of 18 soldiers have arrived from Ghana to join the regional forces after the West African country withdrew the same amount last week.
Ghana is withdrawing the 50 soldiers who were part ECOWAS contingent during the “Operation Restore Democracy” and bringing in new faces.
The intervention of the regional forces in The Gambia was prompted by the refusal of Yahya Jammeh to quit power after losing an election on December 1.
A number of 7000 boots were put on the ground by regional leaders with two jet fighters and two warships, to which Ghana contributed 250 ground troops.
However, following the peaceful change of power which was complemented by the role played by the Gambian soldiers, the regional leader downsized their troops to 500 and Ghana sent 200 soldiers home.
“They are returning the ones who have been with us and bringing in another. 32 soldiers will go back next week and another 32 will come,” Colonel Magatte Ndiaye, the ECOMIG force commander in the country said.
Following the successful takeover of President Adama Barrow, the regional troops who have come to ensure he was installed by “all means necessary” have now got a new mandate which is the stabilization aspect.
They were tasked with providing security for the presidency, cabinet members and key state installations, reinstate confidence between the Gambian security forces and the population and its leaders and the last was to maintain surveillance over Kaninlai.
But because of the stabilization of the country, certain aspects of their mandate such as securing cabinet ministers and protecting government installations were left to the Gambian security that has assumed its responsibility to protect the country.
The regional troops are expected to stay in the country until June when they may leave or their stay extended. Barrow has widened their mandate to help with his military reform program.
(Reporting and Writing by Mustapha Darboe; Sourcing from The Torch)