Faraba Banta community extols State Intelligence Service

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The community of Faraba Banta in the West Coast Region, has extolled the State Intelligence Service (SIS) for its outstanding efforts before, during and after the recent incident between the community and PIU where three community members eventually lost their lives.

In his remarks before President Barrow, a cross section of his Cabinet, religious leaders and local dignitaries, Pa Kalipha Sanyang, a resident of Faraba,  thanked the SIS for its engagements and fruitful discussions with the community before, during and after the incident aimed at calming and resolving the situation.

Pa Kalipha extolled the service for its support and standing by them in consoling the bereaved and hurting families as well as finding a durable solution to the incident. Mr Sanyang also enjoined the community to foster social harmony and a culture of peaceful coexistence.

Another speaker, Mr Suwaibou Sanyang, also of the village, echoed similar sentiments and commended the SIS for the significant role the service played in constantly engaging the community as well as visits to the contentious mining site.

Contacted for their reaction to the speeches by community members of Faraba Banta, an SIS spokesperson expressed gratitude for the recognition by the community and said their kind sentiments were very humbling for his agency. “In the new Gambia, the role of the Intelligence Service is to among other things work towards the continued maintenance of peace, harmony, conflict prevention, management and resolution especially, at this crucial time when the country is undergoing a healing process,” the spokesperson said.

It was observed that, the SIS working with other national actors has been active in calming the country, reaching out and negotiating with stakeholders such as the pressure groups. As was reported, the service was engaged in the discussions between the vice president and members of the pressure group DAFADOY culminating in the peaceful protest rally at Westfield on Sunday 24th June 2018 where government assented to a permit and provided security for the event.

Meanwhile, it could be recalled that the deputy speaker of the National Assembly, Momodou Lamin Sanneh, and chairman of the National Assembly Select Committee on Defense and Security has hailed the director general of State Intelligence Services (SIS), Ousman Sowe, describing him as a person who possesses the requisite quality and capacity to reform and re position the SIS to expectations as envisioned by the current democratic dispensation.

Hon. Sanneh was speaking during a recent visit by the Assembly’s Select Committee on Defense and Security to the SIS head offices as part of their oversight functions.

DG Sowe, he said, was not given the position by chance; underscoring that it was not a mistake to appoint him as the DG of SIS.

During the lawmakers’ visit, they discussed a wide range of issues with regard to how the service is operating in its reforms programme both internally and externally in pursuit of its national security obligations and mandate abroad.

On his part, DG Sowe informed members of the Select Committee that following his appointment, he had been engaged in the activities of re-positioning, recasting and refocusing the service to be in tandem with The Gambia current democratic dispensation. He said the service has gone far in major reforms and restructuring activities; and concentration has been on its key mandate of intelligence collection and dissemination.

Still on the reform process, the DG highlighted that the service has embarked on deliberate efforts to train operatives in both professional studies and other areas in the short and long term; programmes meant to enhance their capacities for effective and efficient operations. Thus, since coming to office, the DG and current management have trained hundreds in both The Gambia and abroad.

Mr. Sowe said to enhance the responsive capability of the SIS; the service has deployed mobility assets across all major and minor posts in the country; all geared towards strengthening the national security posture of the country.

He added that given the bold steps to cut-off all excesses, the service also had  trainees on human rights and the values of constitutional due process for operatives to enhance their operational skills over the period. According to Sowe, in the past year alone, over 200 staff of the service had undergone training in various fields either in The Gambia or abroad.

Overall, he said, the SIS in its national peace and reconciliation efforts and strategy intends to continue constant ‘behind-the-scenes-engagements’ with relevant stakeholders and people of influence to achieve national peace, reconciliation and harmony.

Source: Picture: DG Sowe, SIS