A former bodyguard of the Gambia’s deposed leader, Yahya Jammeh and a cousin of his were arrested by Gambian authorities since July, a security source confirmed on Thursday.
Ex-President Jammeh’s former Aide de Camp and bodyguard, Lt. Col. Yaya Jammeh and a native of Kanilai and cousin to the former leader, Cpt. Beray Jammeh are currently being held at a military barracks, 40 mins southwest of the capital, Banjul.
The two Jammeh’s were arrested in Kanilai and detained at the Fajara Barracks in Bakau and the Naval camp in Banjul until September 14, when they were transported to Yundum, where a handful of other soldiers are being detained.
“The military police took them out of their cells here in Fajara and took them to Yundum where they would be joining others who are also accused of mutiny and some who are accused of killing for Jammeh,” the source said.
Lt. Col. Yaya Jammeh and Cpt. Beray Jammeh are suspected to be part of a group of soldiers loyal to the ex-authoritarian leader that conspired to revolt against the new regime of President Adama Barrow.
Gambian authorities have confirmed the arrest of at least seven soldiers for July’s failed mutiny. However, security sources have pegged the number to at least 17 soldiers, a figure the military will neither confirm nor deny.
The leader of the mutiny has reportedly fled the country and joined ex-President Yahya Jammeh’s loyalists hiding in neighboring nations and suspected to be plotting to destabilize the country.
Rights defenders have called for the Barrow administration to end the continued detention without trial of the soldiers. Army Chief Lt. Gen. Masanneh Kinteh said the detentions are in accordance with military law.
Gambia’s Foreign Minister Ousainou Darboe said the country’s national security will not be put at risk and those implicated in the aborted mutiny will have to be fully investigated and exonerated before their release.