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Peace Is Everybody's Business - Says Interior Minister

Sep 28, 2009, 5:53 AM | Article By: Nfamara Jawneh

The Minister of Interior, Ousman Sonko, has said that the maintenance of peace requires the concerted efforts of all and sundry.

According to Minister Sonko, there cannot be any meaningful development without peace.

"Security cannot be left in the hands of our gallant men and women in uniform alone, but the general public has as role to play. Peace is everybody's business," he emphasised, and then urged the public to report any crime related matter to the police.

The Interior Minister made this remark last Friday, at the Jerma Beach Hotel and Resort, at a peace forum organised by the West Africa Network for Peace-Building WANEP (Gambia chapter).

The forum is part of WANEP's weeklong celebration to mark the international day of peace. The celebration centred on the theme "community safety and peace building".

"If you see us sitting  here today celebrating is because there is peace," Minister Sonko told the gathering. Peace, he added, "is the key to success".  

He used the occasion to urge all those residing in the country to jealously guard the existing peace and stability in the country.

He emphasised the need for the security apparatus to work hand-in-glove with organisations that promote peace, such as WANEP.

For his part, Superintendent Sulayman Secka, the Police Public Relations Officer, said road safety would continue to be at the top of the police force's operational agenda.

Speaking earlier, Ms Pamela Cole, WANEP National Coordinator revealed that the celebration is aimed at creating awareness on the need to develop a culture of peace, especially amid the recent rising rate of violence, crime and the spate of tragic road accidents.

"This deterioration of safety of the people is a fundamental threat to peace and security in the country," she lamented.

Peace, she added, is not only an absence of war, noting that someone in any form of danger is not at peace."

Other speakers at the occasion included Brigadier-General Yankuba Drammeh, Chief of Army Staff and Abdou Touray of the National Road Authority, both of whom spoke at length about the need to give peace a chance.

Basiru Jahumpa of the UNDP delivered the message of the UN Secretary-General on World Peace Day.