The Chief of Defense Staff of The Gambia’s military Lt. Gen. Ousman Bargie has warned that those that seek to subvert the West African nation ahead of its December general elections through electoral violence will be dealt with.
“As members of The Gambia Armed Forces, we are not politicians and all political parties are equal to us but whoever wants to destabilize this country, we will deal with you accordingly,” said CDS Bargie.
Badjie said tribalism in politics has led other African nations into civil war and his forces will not sit to see The Gambia on that path.
The Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh this summer threatened genocide towards members of the country’s Mandinka ethnic group and has repeated used tribal slaws in public speeches.
The sincerity of Bargie’s stamement was questioned by opposition supporters after saying: “if we know there are problems, we can see how best to solve them with the help of our Commander-in-Chief, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya Jammeh Babili Mansa.”
Lt. Col. Bargie asserted that there will be no compromise on the security and integrity of the small nation and took a hardline stand with those he said are seeking to destabilize the country, including those in the Diaspora.
“There will be no compromise on the security and integrity of this country and no compromise with the people whether living in or outside the country who indulge in violence,” he said.
President Yahya Jammeh was nearly ousted in a military expedition hatched in the United States were dissidents bought firearms and transported them discreetly into The Gambia. Gambian forces loyal to Jammeh laid an ambush for the men killing at least two attackers and injuring one other person.
The military general refuted claims that the army sides with the ruling party and said the military treats all Gambians the same, including those in the opposition.
Gambian security forces opened fire and brutally suppressed protests in April and May leading to the death of two opposition activists, one of whom was tortured in custody.
President Yahya Jammeh accused the protesters of trying to use the right to protest as a cover to violently end his rule and has since jailed opposition leader Ousainou Darboe, his executive and 50 other opposition activists.
Bargie is on a tour to meet regional security heads and governors to discuss security measures ahead of the country’s presidential election in which Jammeh is seeking a fifth term.
The Gambia last month went into a military agreement with Russia and rights campaigners have since raised an alarm about the new cooperation urging the United States and EU nations concerned with fundamental freedoms, to redouble our efforts to promote and advance democracy in the region.
The Chairperson of the Gambia’s National Security Council, Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy this week said national security of the country will not be compromised and called upon the country’s new interior minister to enforce security measure to keep the country at peace.