Gambia’s government has disbanded the army’s presidential guards and integrated its members to other units of the military.
President Adama Barrow, the country’s new leader made the confirmation during the State of the Nation address on Monday.
“Members of the former State Guard Battalion have been redeployed to other units, and the armed forces are now disengaged from civilian matters,” Barrow said.
Since coming to power, Barrow and his senior officials have been protected by the police and the West African military deployed to oust ex-President Yahya Jammeh.
The presidential guard has always backed Jammeh during his rule. Most of its members are his loyalists, who helped thwart at least a dozen coups.
“Gone are the days of armed security personnel representing the face of the government. The Gambia Armed Forces are now confined to their military barracks,” Barrow said.
Gambia’s army was feared and implicated in human rights abuses. The presidential guard unit was its most influential and powerful.
It’s members make the special paramilitary black ops squad accused of torturing and killing opposition activists, human rights campaign, journalists, and Jammeh’s perceived enemies.
Gambian authorities have managed to arrest at least 10 members of the feared hit squad called the Jungulars and averted a mutiny last week.
President Barrow, however, praised the army for being cooperative and helping in returning the country to normalcy.