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: Four soldiers arrested for suspected mutiny

An unspecified number of Gambian soldiers are being investigated for alleged “mutinous acts, defamatory, scandalous and unethical” behavior, military spokesperson Lt. Col. Omar Bojang said.

At least four soldiers have been arrested in connection with a suspected mutiny by the authorities in the West African nation.

The soldiers being investigated are allegedly part of a WhatsApp chat group where they are apparently engaged in alleged mutinous acts, defamatory, scandalous and unethical misconduct.

SMBC NEWS first reported on Tuesday the arrested of two soldiers for planning to assassinate an unnamed top Gambian government official.

Currently, Gambian President Adama Barrow is being guarded by the paramilitary police and the regional forces, a change that placed the soldiers who were part of the elite presidential guard in the background.

Barely three weeks ago, an intelligence brief from the Senegalese military stated that Gambia is “facing a serious threat of possible attacks from disgruntle Jammeh loyalists in Mauritania and Guinea Bissau.”

The leaked intelligence brief also said these men are in contact with “disgruntle soldiers” in the country, some of whom are senior military officers.

“Consequently, based on these provisions the Gambia Armed Forces has convened a Board of Inquiry to look into circumstances surrounding the whole episode,” the Gambia military said.

The army “condemn in the strongest term this alleged act by some disgruntled elements of the Gambia Armed Forces” amid concerns that former President Yahya Jammeh still has loyalists embedded among its ranks.

The Chief of Senegal’s military Lt. Gen. Cheikh Gueye has traveled to Mauritania to hold talks with the West African authorities over the presence of deserted Gambian soldiers.

At least two dozen Gambian soldiers are being detained for taking part in human rights abuses, most of them for taking part in killings and tortures for Jammeh.

President Adama Barrow extended the mandate for the West African troops deployed to help stabilize the country as he struggles to rebuild the armed forces and weed out Jammeh’s men.

(Reporting and Writing by Mustapha Darboe; Additional Writing and Editing by Sam Phatey)

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