Partisans of Gambian political prisoners protest at the Supreme Court for trial in Banjul, Gambia December 5, 2016. REUTERS/ Thierry Gouegnon

Gambia urged to disband paramilitary groups implicated in rights abuses

Rights groups are urging the Gambia to disband paramilitary groups implicated in human rights violations as citizens of the small nation seek justice for decades long abuses.

Amnesty International says disbanding groups such as the “Jungulars” – and having established as an offense under Gambian law will be instrumental in healing the nation.

Under the regime of despotic ruler Yahya Jammeh, the United Nations described the practice of torture as “prevalent and routine” and suspected perpetrators were never held to account.

Jammeh had signed an Indemnity Act into law that gave security forces to act with impunity and commit human rights abuses, shielding them from prosecution.

At least a dozen members of the Jungulars have been arrested and detained under military law. A Gambian General. Bora Colley, suspected of commanding the hit squad have been surrendered by Senegalese authorities to the Gambia.

Lieutenant General Masanneh Kinteh, Chief of Defence Staff of the Gambia Armed Forces said the new government has got some crucial reforms, restructuring and transformational plans for the armed forces.

Gambia is grappling to reform its army and have lengthened the mandate of West African forces that were deployed to depose Jammeh. Authorities are set to disband the elite presidential guard, which was part of its Republican National Guard.

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