Country report and updates: Gambia

Last revision: 27 Jul 1998
27 Jul 1998

1 Conscription

conscription does not exist

Gambia has no conscription and has never had since it achieved independence in 1965. [1] [2] [3] [6]


Enlistment in the armed forces is voluntary. The minimum recruitment age is 18 for both male and female recruits. Initially recruits enlist for a specified minimum period, in which they undergo a training of 4 to 6 months, thereafter they may wish to re-engage in the armed forces for another specified period. [6]

2 Conscientious objection

There is no known legal provision for conscientious objection.

3 Draft evasion and desertion

No information about this is available.

5 History

Under British colonial rule, Gambia had conscription and according to the 1942 Ordinance 11, art. 10, CO status could be obtained. [1]

From 1965 to 1994 the Gambia was a rather stable multi-party democracy, but its president was not very popular. The armed forces were under command of a Nigerian colonel. This changed abruptly on 22 July 1994 when there was a military coup by 29-year-old Yahja Jammeh, which was executed without any substantial violence. From then on Gambia has been controlled by a military government, the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC). On 15 August 1996 a 70 percent majority vote for the adoption of a new constitution seems to be a success for the military government. In September 1996 Jammeh was elected as president. [3] [4]

6 Annual statistics

The armed forces comprise only the 800 strong Gambian National Army - less than 0.1 percent of the population. [5]


[1] Prasad, D., T. Smythe 1968. Conscription: a world survey, compulsory military service and resistance to it. War Resisters' International, London. [2] Eide, A., C. Mubanga-Chipoya 1985. Conscientious objection to military service, report prepared in pursuance of resolutions 14 (XXXIV) and 1982/30 of the Sub-Commission of Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. United Nations, New York. [3] US State Department 1996. Country reports on Human Rights Practices 1996. Washington DC. [4] De Tageszeitung (German newspaper), 16 August 1996. [5] Institute for Strategic Studies 1997. Military Balance 1997/98. ISS, London, UK. [6] Department of State for Defence, Republic of the Gambia 1998. Letter to Friends World Committee for Consultation, Banjul, 7 January 1998.