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Soldiers loyal to ex-ruler Jammeh to face charges in Gambia

Gambia’s ex-ruler Yahya Jammeh

DAKAR, SENEGAL–– Military authorities in the West African nation of The Gambian say several soldiers in the country’s army will face will face charges for nine different offenses amid fears that an offshoot of the country military remains loyal ex-president Yahya Jammeh.

A spokesman for the Gambia military says the charges were presented at a court-martial hearing held on Friday when 12 officers were presented to a civilian judge and military panel in a circumstances cloaked in confidentiality.

Army spokesman Lamin Sanyang said, “Twelve army officers were arraigned before a court-martial at Yundum barracks yesterday.”

“They are charged with nine criminal counts, but for now I cannot go into the details,” he added.

According to sources, pleas will be entered on November 27, when the accused soldiers are expected to be formally charged.

Globe Afrique has learned that ex-president Yahya Jammeh is meddling in the Gambia’s affairs using his loyalists in the army. In his decade’s rule, Jammeh purged out several independent-minded and career soldiers and instead recruited men loyal to him.

Military sources informed Globe Afrique that the charges against the soldiers involve an accusation of sedition and loyalty to the ex-military ruler, President Yahya Jammeh. Seeking asylum in Equatorial Guinea.

Current president Adama Barrow won the election, defeating President Jammeh after a coalition of opposition parties fielded him as the standard-bearer in December 2016 elections.

Since his forced departure into exile, there have been serious concerns about Jammeh’s loyalists in the army. Sounding a blunt warning in July this year about the splinter group was Colonel Magatte Ndiaye, the head of a Senegalese army contingent still deployed to The Gambia by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Colonel Ndiaye in July informed the local and international media that rebel elements are resolved by destabilizing the country.

Sources say the accused soldiers are working with exiled Jammeh-era top brass, though President Barrow has said such reports are “hugely exaggerated”.

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Ben Mabande

Ben Mabande is a researcher and senior contributing reporter with Globe Afrique Media.

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