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Published On: Mon, Nov 6th, 2023

Gambia Hosts ECOWAS Regional Competence Building Training on Weapons and Ammunitions PSSM

The Gambia is currently hosting a five day ECOWAS Regional Competence Building Training on Weapons and Ammunitions Physical Security and Stockpile Management (PSSM), organized by the ECOWAS Commission, in collaboration with the National Commission on Small Arms of The Gambia and the Bonn International Center for Conflicts studies (BICC).

The training is jointly funded by the ECOWAS Commission and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany and is being held at Ocean Bay in Bakau.

The participants of the training are drawn from ECOWAS member states including personnel from the Gambia Armed Forces.

The honorable Minister of Defence and retired Brigadier General Serign Modou Njie presided over the Opening Ceremony of the training and outlined that the training is important and couldn’t be more relevant and timely, adding that non state actors like terrorists and criminal enterprises have in the past capitalized on inherent weaknesses in physical security and stockpile management to gain access to arms and ammunition to unleash terror to maximize their mischievous intentions.

“Identifying deficiencies in physical security and stockpile management and taking measures necessary to address the safety and security gaps can help prevent unplanned explosions strengthen controls and enforce compliances with minimum safety security standards.”he emphasized.

He further said that the successful implementation of these basic security and safety standards will help keep lethal weapons away from the reach of criminal and terrorist elements thus making the world much safer and secured for everyone to maximize his or her happiness.

Representative of German Multi Arms Small Group and facilitator of the training, Col. Jens Kermes, states that physical security of weapons and ammunition stockpiles is essential to prevent the diversion of state weapons stocks from legal to illicit markets, particularly in areas where non-state armed groups are active and it will also help to reduce the risk of unplanned explosions triggered by improper storage, and the associated risks to human life and nearby infrastructure.

He further emphasized that this Project aims at contribute to the security and stability in the ECOWAS  region by providing assistance to targeted States in preventing the diversion of, and the illicit trafficking in, government owned SALW and ammunition by improving their physical security and stockpile management.

ECOWAS representative, Col. Koffi Marc Kouadio said that the weaknesses observed in ECOWAS member states in respect of norms and standards governing management of the stockpiles of arms and ammunition legally held by the States, lead to the diversion of these weapons and ammunition that feed the illicit market and represents a threat to human security and stability of States in the region.

The training will provide course participants with practical knowledge to improve physical security and management of national stockpiles of arms and ammunition based on the ECOWAS Roadmap on PSSM and to promote the effective implementation of Article 16 of the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons.

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