Senegal’s army chief heads to Mauritania for talks over presence of Gambia army deserters

Senegal’s army chief heads to Mauritania for talks over presence of Gambia army deserters

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 300 Gambian soldiers loyal to ex-President Yahya Jammeh are reportedly camping in Mauritania, Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau plotting to attack The Gambia and destabilize the country.

A former Liberian military commander who fought for Charles Taylor had said last year that Jammeh was recruiting rebel fighters in from other West African nations to help remain in power.

Mauritania and Guinea’s leaders, Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz and Alpha Condé were key players in regional talks with Jammeh to cede power and avert a civil war in the small nation.

Gen. Gueye will be meeting with Mauritania’s Minister of Defense, Diallo Mamadou Bathia and Army Chief General Mohamed Cheikh Mohamed Lemine.

High ranking military generals that have fled with ex-President Jammeh have maintained contact with loyalists on “active duty” within the Gambia’s army, a West African military commander said.

Two bodyguards of the Gambia’s army chief have been arrested by the military police on allegations that they have conspired to kill an unnamed senior government official.

Gambia’s President Adama Barrow has extended the mandate of West African troops deployed to stabilize the country to next year amid threats to the country and to his life.

The country is struggling to rebuild its armed forces with those loyal to Jammeh still embedded within the military. Gambia’s army chief, Lt. Gen. Masanneh Kinteh has made major shifts, changing three commanders and the army’s intelligence chief.

Jammeh refused to cede power after losing elections to Barrow and fled the country when his loyalists could not match the military superiority of West African forces that were poised to depose him and uphold the outcome of the elections.

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