Fri, Apr 22, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Taiwan gives US$500,000 to ally Gambia’s military

By J. Michael Cole  /  Staff Reporter

The Taiwanese embassy in Banjul, Gambia, has donated US$500,000 toward renovation and rehabilitation work for soldiers’ residences at the Yundum Barracks, reports said earlier this week.

Taiwanese Ambassador to Gambia Richard Shih (石瑞琦) handed the check for 15 million Gambian dalasi to permanent secretary of the Gambian Ministry of Defense Harry Sambou at a ceremony at the barracks, the Daily Observer reported on Tuesday.

Gambian Armed Forces spokesman Omar Bojang, who chaired the ceremony, pointed to the long history of support by its diplomatic ally, citing financial and technical assistance in health, education and the agriculture sector, as well as infrastructure.

The latest gesture, he said, was another example of the contributions made by Taipei toward the development aspirations of Gambian President Yahya Jammeh.

Shih said Taiwan would -continue to support Jammeh and his people as they strive to transform their country and modernize their military, adding that no meaningful development could take place in a country without the armed forces.

Taiwan will always be Gambia’s partner in development, he said.

Sambou said the donation was the latest in a long history of assistance from Taiwan.

“Your intervention today is not only timely, but very welcome. This is yet another manifestation of your country’s magnanimity towards the Gambian people in their quest to forge ahead toward progress and prosperity,” he said. “I am made to understand that the Taiwanese government had previously been involved in the same endeavor at the same barracks a decade ago.”

Gambian Chief of Defense Staff Masanneh Kinteh said Taiwan has been a constant partner in Jammeh’s developmental aspirations.

The Daily Observer in December reported that Taiwan had donated about US$300,000 to Gambia’s health sector.

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