Members of Gambia's Army forces are seen in a stadium in Banjul, Gambia December 5, 2016. Picture taken December 5, 2016. REUTERS/ Thierry Gouegnon

Gambia security threat: 300 Jammeh loyalists plotting attack on small nation

At least 300 deserters of the Gambia’s army are suspected of attempting to destabilize the West African nation following the ouster of its military-backed ruler, Yahya Jammeh.

Military generals loyal to ex-President Jammeh are reportedly meeting with Soldiers in Guinea-Bissau and Guinea to hatch a plot that could spark conflict.

In a report dated the end of June, Senegalese military intelligence expressed worries about their possible presence and is robustly trying for the Gambia’s army to verify certain information in connection with the threat.

Senegal’s military says the “information not yet cross-referenced” deserves to be taken seriously.

According to the document, these former Gambian soldiers in Mauritania, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau “would consider destabilizing” their country of origin.

The three countries were “supporters” of the former Gambian president and have become a refuge for some of Jammeh’s special forces implicated in human rights abuses.

Jammeh special force – “jungulers” constituted sorts of “death squads” of the fallen regime – were suspected of having taken refuge in the three nations after his departure.

Heavy weapons were suspected to be smuggled out of the Gambia in the days following Jammeh’s defeat in the presidential polls.

Reports are rife that the army deserters cited in the Senegalese intelligence brief are armed with these weapons that were allegedly kept in bunkers during the two-month long political logjam.

Gambia’s army chief, Lt. Gen. Masanneh Kinteh on Monday made major shifts in the military replacing at least three military camp commanders.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian first raised alarmed about external security threats facing Gambia in a meeting with his Senegalese counterpart, Mankeur Ndiaye last month.

Ndiaye said the threats of destabilization mainland Africa’s smallest nation are “real” but declined to say anymore.

Jammeh is believed to have loyalists in the Gambia’s security services with many members of a militia youth group been enlisted during his reign.

(Reporting by Sheriff Bojang Jr./WADR; Writing by Sam Phatey)

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