Gambia’s military chief Lt. Gen. Ousman Bargie has admitted to detaining and ordering the torture of a 19-year-old man, Momodou Bah at the Fajara Barracks.
“I admit beating him and ordering my boys to pour cold water on him to teach him a lesson,” Bargie told Gambian journalist Yankuba Jallow.
“He insulted my mother and we are Africans. We do not accept that here. We have children’s rights but we also have our tradition and culture.”
Security guards of the defense chief are also implicated in the arbitrary arrest and detention of an unnamed young man outside a radio station, Star FM.
Human rights violations by Gambian security forces is partly responsible for the deployment of West African troops in the country. Gambian army has been accused of acting with impunity during President Yahya Jammeh’s rule.
Gambia’s new President Adama Barrow retained General Bargie as the military chief but may come under pressure to relieve him of his duties and have him deployed to foreign service.
President Barrow has promised to reform the military and regional troops are vetting personnel.
Bargie has appointed a former military chief Lt. Gen. Masanneh Kinteh as his National Security Adviser. Neither the president nor his national security adviser made any remarks regarding Bargie’s admission.