Gambia’s military will need technical aid, said its new Commander-in-Chief Adama Barrow as part of efforts to reform the security services.
The army’s reputation of aiding former autocratic ruler Yahya Jammeh and human rights abuses led to the deployment of more than 4,000 West African troops to uphold the country’s last month’s elections.
“In the army, we need technical aid, and we need countries that are willing to help us in the security realm,” Borrow said, adding that the overhaul in the security services would be part of his broad plans for rebuilding the Gambia after years of dictatorship.
The military consists of Gambia National Army, the National Republican Guard, and the Gambian Navy.
The Gambian Army received technical assistance and training from the United States, People’s Republic of China, Nigeria, and Turkey before Jammeh took power in a coup.
Most of this aid has been withdrawn.
A special unit of soldiers only answerable to former President Yahya Jammeh have been mainly accused of tortures, killings and prolonged detentions without trial.
Impunity was a problem, especially after the killing of at least a dozen student protesters in the Spring of 2000. While Jammeh’s regime took steps to prosecute or punish some individuals who committed abuses, impunity and lack of sustained enforcement remained problems.
The West African troops are expected to stay in The Gambia until the political situation is stabilized.
President Adama Barrow has appointed former military chief Lt. Gen. Masanneh Kinteh as his National Security Adviser. His appointment and retainment of the Chief of Defense Staff Lt. Gen. Ousman Bargie is expected to bring about cohesion.