Gambia’s army has disavowed the coup that brought the country’s ex-autocratic ruler to power in 1994, expressing regret and issuing an apology for the first time.
Gambia Armed Forces supported former President Yahya Jammeh’s coup that ousted the country’s first post-colonial leader, Sir Dawda Jawara.
“The Gambia Armed Forces wishes to disassociate itself with July 22, the birth of which has subsequently brought untold terror and mayhem to Gambians,” the Army said on Friday.
It is the first time The Gambia’s army is condemning the coup and distancing itself from it.
The army has backed Jammeh’s rule and, for the most part, held responsible for the need to deploy West African troops to force Jammeh to respect the outcome of the elections in which he was shockingly defeated by the new leader, Adama Barrow.
Gambia’s army has been often implicated in human rights abuses and at least a dozen soldiers from Jammeh’s hit squad have been arrested.
The military on Monday thwarted a mutiny plotted by a handful of loyalists of the ex-leader Jammeh, and arrested at least four soldiers, while several others, including the revolt leader, have fled into hiding.
It has vowed to distance itself from the politics of the New Gambia and ensure that the will of the people is not subverted.