Ensuring the stability of the country during the democratic transition and supporting the newly elected authorities.
In early 2017, The Gambia experienced the first democratic change of leadership since independence, ending 22 years of authoritarian rule of former president Yahya Jammeh.
After weeks of political stalemate following presidential elections on 1 December 2016, on January 19 2017, on the first day of his term, President Adama Barrow was inaugurated while in temporary exile in the Gambian Embassy in Senegal; at the time incumbent president Jammeh refused to accept electoral defeat. However, domestic and international political pressure combined with the threat of military action by an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mission in The Gambia (ECOMIG) finally prompted Jammeh to leave the country, paving the way for the return of President Barrow on 26 January 2017.
The ECOMIG mandate was extended by ECOWAS Heads of States various times, and currently runs until 31 December 2020. The Mission is composed of 1000 troops from Senegal (750), Nigeria (200) and Ghana (50) - of which 125 are gendarmerie.
• The main objective of the EU support is to ensure the stability of the country during democratic transition;
• The specific objectives are to support the provision of security to the new President and members of government and institutions :
• the establishment of joint patrols between ECOMIG forces and the Gambian Armed Forces :
• and the training of the Gambian Armed Forces.
Patrolling and security provision are carried out diligently by ECOMIG forces, which contributes to maintaining peace and stability in the country. ECOMIG has a good track record. It has been successful in preventing violence and maintaining stability during the transition from an authoritarian to a democratic government. The political situation has remained stable since the mission started and the new President launched a long-term SSR programme in order to reorganise the entire security apparatus of the country.
An EU monitoring mission to Banjul in October 2019 concluded that the continuation of the mission was necessary, but also recommended that some tasks were to be handed over to the Gambian Armed Forces in 2020. It was also found that the ECOMIG training of the Gambian Armed Forces needed to be significantly stepped-up.