Landing Kinteh, a trained lawyer and senior police officer has been named as the new police chief of The Gambia, according to the police spokesperson.
Kinteh is taking over from the country’s longest-serving Inspector General of Police Yankuba Sonko, says police spokesperson, Foday Conta.
Sonko has been redeployed to Foreign Service, according to President Adama Barrow’s Press Secretary, Amie Bojang Sisohore.
His deputy Ousman Sowe was demoted to the rank of commissioner and replaced by commissioner Mamud Jobe, who is now the Deputy Inspector General of Police.
Kinteh graduated from the Nigeria Police Training School. He has an LLB from the University of Usman Dan Fodio and a Masters in Human Rights Law and Criminal Justice from the University of Essex in the UK.
He is a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of The Gambia, and a former commissioner of prosecutions and legal affairs for the police department.
Kinteh helped establish the National Anti-Trafficking In Person (NAATIP) which he was its first Executive Director.
Landing Kinteh has served with the African Union and United Nations missions in Darfur for several years until his appointment.
Kinteh’s priorities will have to include addressing complaints at the Gambia’s police intervention unit, which has been the police’s most implicated department in civil and human rights violations.
The police intervention unit has been accused of taking part in the shooting and killing of student demonstrators in 2000 and in using excessive force to quell opposition protests last year.
Kinteh’s appointment has been welcomed by activists, who hope his appointment will bring robust change to policing in the West African nation.
He will be the country’s 18th police chief since 1994 and the first to be appointed by the new President Adama Barrow. Barrow took over power from ex-President Yahya Jammeh after months of political turmoil.