Gambia’s army chief says 2 pro-Jammeh generals have abandoned him

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) – Two former army generals who fled with former dictator Yahya Jammeh, returned to the country from exile after they had strained relations with him in Equatorial Guinea, PANA reported on Monday, quoting Masanneh Kinteh, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).

Kinteh told a press conference in Kotu, 9km from the capital, Banjul, that the generals, Ansumana Tamba and Umpa Mendy, slipped back into the country through the boarders unnoticed.

They were later arrested from their homes by the Gambian authorities two days after their arrival and are currently helping the military with their investigations.

According to Kinteh, the home return of the generals was a breach of airport security.

“We have acknowledged this lapse at the National Security Council and took full responsibility as a council for the lack of knowledge about the return of these high-risk persons and the way and manner they have been processed on arrival,” he said.

According to Kinteh, an independent enquiry has been set up by the government to look into “this grave security lapse” and proffer solutions to avoid a repeat.

“On our part as the GAF, the two generals are for the moment presumed to be deserters after having stayed away from the armed forces for over a year. We will equally brief the media on the outcome of the investigations once completed,” he added.

Meanwhile, there have been recent commentaries in Gambian media that the country’s leadership does not trust the army.

The Gambian army has suffered a lot of political interference during the country’s dictatorship and some analysts believe Jammeh still has lot of influence within the army.

But Kinteh said the army’s relations with the president could not have been better.

“We have to be sincere, as a country we have gone through a very difficult transition… I have a responsibility to connect the army and the president and it is going to be done and very soon you will see a change in that direction,” Kinteh promised.

“The president is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and that is a responsibility he is handling efficiently… Why do you think armed forces are handling everything in tact without any internal problem?”
-0- PANA MLJ/VAO 5Feb2018

05 فبراير 2018 15:20:45

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