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Gambia accuses renegade generals with desertion

General Umpa Mendy and General Ansumana Tamba

BANJUL–– The Armed Forces of the Gambian says it has filed desertion charges against two renegade generals who went into exile with former president Yahya Jammed last year.

Making the disclosure on Wednesday, the force said General Umpa Mendy and General Ansumana Tamba sought refuge in Equatorial Guinea alongside former dictator Jammeh in January 2017 after his brutal 22-year rule came to an abrupt end.

An army spokesman, Major Lamin Sanyang, said the pair were “charged with desertion of duty contrary to the Gambia Armed Forces Act”, and would appear before a general court-martial on April 4, 2018.

According to the army, General Mendy was responsible for protecting the former dictator while General Tamba serves as a presidential guard.

The two top officers left the country on board Jammeh’s plane and followed him into exile in Equatorial Guinea on January 21, 2017.

Jammeh refused to step down after losing an election to businessman Adama Barrow had led to the West African bloc, ECOMOG, to intervene and force him out.  The two generals’ arrival created controversy.

Africa’s Analysts and political commentators say elements of The Gambia’s armed forces have strong ties to the former dictator.  Several former soldiers are on trial on treason and mutiny charges for plotting to overthrow the country’s newly elected government.

Soldiers from the ECOWAS regional grouping are still securing the country and government pending completion security reform President Barrow seeks to put in place.

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Paul Stevens

Paul Stevens is a researcher, media issues analyst and senior contributor with Globe Afrique.
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