Gambia’s President Adama Barrow has put out new orders for the State Intelligence Services stripping it of any law enforcement function, a senior aide close to the presidency said.
SIS, formerly the NIA has been barred from interfering with police matters and detaining suspects. The new task is to gather and analyze intelligence to protect the country from internal and external threats.
President Barrow’s orders are that the SIS will carry out no more arrest, detain or undertake any activities that are unconstitutional especially with regards to human and civil rights in line with the government’s new dispensation for the New Gambia.
Former President Yahya Jammeh has used the NIA to detain, torture, maim, and kill political opponents, rights defenders and journalists.
Fears still exist that Jammeh, who still has loyalists within the army can launch an insurgency to regain power.
It means the State Intelligence Services task of gathering, processing and analyzing national security information from around the world is significant in preserving the Gambia’s new found democracy, which has to be done primarily through the use of human intelligence.
Despite widespread allegations of serious abuses committed by the NIA agency over the last two decades of Jammeh’s rule, none of its officers were held accountable for the tortures, rapes, killings and arbitrary detentions.
Barrow has pledged a truth and reconciliation but activists are joining victims of the former regime with their families to demand that those involved in human rights abuses be prosecuted.