Gambia under active threat

President of Gambia, Adama Barrow

The Senegalese commander of a West African regional force deployed to The Gambia, says the Adama Barrow led-government still faced security challenges from loyalists of former leader, Yahya Jammeh.

Leader of the ECOWAS Mission in The Gambia (ECOMIG) Colonel Magatte Ndiaye said senior officers who left with Jammeh were in contact with other serving officials in plots to destabilise the tiny West African country.

“High-ranking army officers who fled with the former president have maintained contact with hostile elements within the Gambian security forces still in active service,” Colonel Ndiaye, said.

“If we add the influence of the outside to the operation of the interior, we see that there are many negative forces that conspire to make this country ungovernable,” he added.

The regional political bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), okayed the deployment of a force, dominated by Senegalese forces, to force Jammeh to cede power to President Adama Barrow after losing presidential polls in December 2016.

Jammeh is on exile in Equatorial Guinea, he left the country after a last attempt negotiation by Guinean and Mauritanian leaders.

Their attempt followed a failed effort on the part of ECOWAS in a mission led by Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari.

A demonstration on June 2 in Kanilai, Jammeh’s birthplace, about 100 km east of the capital, Banjul, against the regional forces led to one death and injuries to others.

The protesters described the regional force as an “occupying force.”

The ECOWAS force has since its deployment been downsized and its mandate extended on at least three occasions, the most recent extension being during the ECOWAS summit of Heads of State in Monrovia on June 4.

Africanews/Sammie Idika