Some 60% of the Gambia’s intelligence agency accused of torturing carrying out human rights abuses, the National Intelligence Agency were illiterate, according to a report leaked by The Point.
A majority the NIA officers were members of militia group backing Jammeh’s APRC party called the Green Youths, who were recruited through nepotism, according to Baboucarr Badjie, the legal adviser to the Gambia’s State Intelligence Services.
They were unable to read or write and most of them were brought into the agency by a cousin of ex-President Jammeh, Pa Bojang, who fled to the United States after falling out of favor with Jammeh.
“The usefulness of such people as NIA agents is very insignificant as most of them cannot write comprehensive English Language nor understand it,” said Legal Adviser Badjie.
“Ordinarily, the first priority of the reform is to conduct a proper staff audit as writing is the working tool of the intelligence agents.”
The NIA is accused of carrying out some of the worst forms of torture against Jammeh’s perceived enemies. Nine of its former officials, including its demoralized chief, Yankuba Badjie have been charged with the killing of a senior opposition member, Ebrima Solo Sandeng.
It has been long suspected that Jammeh had recruited the Green Youths into the army and the National Intelligence Agency. Gambian authorities are weeding out some of the suspected members of the militia group as part of its security reform program.
Gambia’s new President Adama Barrow is rebranding the agency and now calls it the State Intelligence Agency. He has stripped them off of their arresting powers and confined them to intelligence gathering and analysis.