Former coupist sworn in as Gambia’s new interior minister

interior-minister-momodou-bahThe Gambia’s Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy has sworn in the country’s new homeland security secretary after President Yahya Jammeh fired his longtime ally and loyalist Ousman Sonko.

Momodou Alieu Bah a former Lieutenant of The Gambia National Army took the oath of office at the State House in Banjul on Tuesday and vowed to carry out his duties with sincerity.

VP Njie-Saidy said Mr. Bah’s many years of experience in the military has given him the experience required to fulfil his duties as the country top security chief and to ensure the maintenance of peace in the country.

The country’s chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General Mama Fatima Singhateh said President Yahya Jammeh has given Mr. Bah the interior minister job because he has trust and confidence in him to administer the critical internal security and safety of the country.

Bah was among ex-army officers who were convicted of attempting to overthrow President Yahya Jammeh’s government in March 2006 and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

He was pardoned and promoted to the rank of Major after agreeing to testify as the key prosecution witness against President Jammeh’s former military chief, Chief of Defense Staff Lieutenant General Lang Tombong Tamba and Naval Chief Rear Admiral Sarjo Fofana who were court-martialed for treason.

A former aide to President Yahya Jammeh, Colonel Lamin Gano called Bah a straightforward and truthful man with a high sense of justice and fair play.

“I can attest to some of his great qualities. He is not only extremely straightforward and truthful with a high sense of justice and fair play, but I have seen him defend those attributes under numerous circumstances,” Col. Gano said.

President Jammeh came to power through a bloodless coup in 1994 and has since ruled with an iron fist. The African strongman is facing a divided opposition struggling to form a coalition to end his rule and Jammeh who has recently crackdown on opposition activists has vowed to stay in power with or without elections.

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