A member of Gambia's Army force sits at the Supreme Court in Banjul, Gambia December 5, 2016. Picture taken December 5, 2016. REUTERS/ Thierry Gouegnon

Gambia reshuffles its police force in a second thrust at cleansing it

The administration of President Adama Barrow is taking a second stab at the country’s police force in what would be a continuous attempt to reorganize the security agency.

Several people have been replaced and move around in the police reversing one of the most controversial decisions of Jammeh’s government within the police.

The reshuffling also restored several crucial police chiefs that were demoted or sacked by the recently ousted President Yahya Jammeh.

A filing on Tuesday saw Commissioner Demba Sowe, replacing Assistant Commissioner Bubacarr Sarr as the head of the Crime Management Unit and the country’s Interpol division having a new commander, Abdoulie Sanneh.

A former deputy police chief, Modou Gaye, will be replacing Landing Bojang as Chief Operations Officer.

Bojang is now heading commanding the Banjul Police Department replacing Commissioner Ebrima Cham.

Gaye was fired by ex-President Jammeh and jailed by the ousted regime on allegations of a coup attempt but reabsorbed into the police following the change of government as Commissioner for Policy and Planning.

The changes also downgraded the roles of Deputy Commissioner Buba Sarr and saw the Crime Management Unit deputy, Pateh Bah moved to Banjul International Airport as Commanding Officer.

Several senior police officers have been deployed, including the former Inspector General, Yankuba Sonko to Foreign Service.

President Barrow has replaced the country’s longest serving police chief with a lawyer, Landing Kinteh with the goal of bolstering the force’s image.

Despite the movings, activists continue to raise concerns about the retaining of a handful of senior officials described as henchmen of the former autocratic ruler, Yahya Jammeh.

The reorganization efforts were a source of tension between human rights defenders and the new government.

A report sent to President Barrow on the state of the country’s intelligence services leaked to the media prompted criticism further criticism for quick reforms and raised concerns.

There has been plenty of focus on policing in the Gambia since the ouster of ex-ruler, Yahya Jammeh.

The Barrow administration has signaled that it wants to invest in community policing to serve and protect citizens, who have been subjected to gross human and civil rights violations.

It also said it will ramp up its military reform program to protect the country against external threats and secure critical infrastructures.

The Gambia does not have a Defense Minister and its homeland security department, headed by Mai Ahmad Fatty had been off to a slow start with getting rid of Jammeh’s loyalist pinned in the security services.

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