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 renewed by ECOWAS Heads of States on 29 January 2017.
ECOMIG is composed of 500 militaries from Senegal (250), Nigeria (200) and Ghana (50), of which 125 are gendarmerie.
Established in January 2017, ECOMIG benefited from EU funding (EUR 2.3 million) under the Early Response Mechanism until 20 May 2017. It shifted to a Peace Support Operation as of 7 June 2017, with an envelope of EUR 7.5 million. The current contract will come to ended on 20 May 2018, following which an extension might be requested by ECOWAS.
- The main objective of EU support is to ensure the stability of the country during democratic transition;
- ECOMIG provides close protection and patrolling services to the president and the members of the government, as well as key locations such as the international airport and waterway terminals. Joint patrols with Gambian armed forces are also organised to build confidence between the new authorities. Last but not least, ECOMIG provides training to the Gambian armed forces to aid the transformation into a modern democratic Institution.
Patrolling and security provision are carried out diligently by ECOMIG forces, which contributes to maintaining peace and stability in the country. Until 31 December 2017, a total number of 152 patrols were undertaken.
The action has so far managed to maintain stability in the country; no political troubles have been reported. Consequently, the Gambian authorities have been able to initiate broad security sector reform (SSR) to tackle all branches of the security and justice apparatus, with support from international partners.
Training to the Gambian armed forces has not yet been initiated.