The regional forces in Gambia and the country’s military have started destroying the small nation’s stockpiles of banned Anti-Personal Mines and RPG 7s.
The regional forces in Gambia have jointly with Gambia Arm Forces started destroying the country’s stockpiles of Anti-Personal Mines, Major Salifu Ngom, spokesperson of ECOWAS forces has said.
The Anti-personnel mines are designed for use against humans as oppose to vehicles but they are often designed to injure, not kill, their victims in order to increase the logistical— mostly medical— support required by enemy forces that encounter them.
The International Campaign to Ban Landmines has sought to ban it which culminated into the 1997 Ottawa Treaty, although this treaty has not yet been accepted by a number of countries but Gambia has ratified it in 2002.
“In accordance with the rules and regulations of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, commonly known as the Ottawa Convention or the Ottawa Treaty, the new Gambian authorities have decided to comply with international regulations on antipersonnel mines with the technical support of the Economic Community of West African States Mission in the Gambia (ECOMIG) by destroying their stock of these dangerous and prohibited devices,” Ngom said in a statement sent to The Torch.
“Thus, the demolition process started yesterday in a village called Palodi, located about twenty kilometers south-east of Farafenni.”
Ngom would not comment on the quantity of the mines as at now that are being destroyed but said they should not have been here since the country ratified the treaty that sought to destroy them.
“Anti-Personal Mines are very dangerous. They are being destroyed alongside RPG 7. There are others too but I can’t specifically say but the most important thing is the Anti-Personal Mines,” Ngom told The Torch over the phone.
“It is a concern because Gambia has signed the Oatawa Convention in 1992 and then ratified it in 2002. So there shouldn’t be any stockpile weapons of Anti-Personal Mines in Gambia,” Ngom added.
The Gambia arm forces have not issued any statement yet confirming their involvement in the exercise.