Gambia’s army has confirmed the enlisting of volunteers who served as bodyguards to President Adama Barrow and senior members of the coalition into the security services.
They are being recruited and put into different units and service agencies but are all screened and well vetted, according to the army spokesperson, Lt. Col. Omar Bojang.
The men protected Mr. Barrow and coalition officials that unseated ex-dictator, Yahya Jammeh during the run up to the polls and the deadlock that followed his shocking defeat.
Security concerns over President Barrow’s life and senior officials have been compromised when a spy was implanted by the ex-president into his security details, a report said in June.
At least four Gambian soldiers have been arrested and several others escaped for mutiny and for reportedly plotting to kill a senior official.
The recruitment of the protection details of the coalition team has been welcomed by many but others expressed concerns that it could lead to having loyalists in top posts, a situation that the current government is dealing with.
Jammeh has loyalists all over the security services and Barrow’s government is finding it hard to weed them out as part of reform efforts.
The country’s elite presidential guard unit, which was filled with Jammeh’s men have been disbanded and its members integrated into other units of the army.
Barrow is currently being protected by the police and West African army officers helping to stabilize the fragile security in the country since Jammeh’s ouster to Equatorial Guinea.