Tuesday 24 April 2018

Gambia charges renegade generals with desertion

Gambia charges renegade generals with desertion
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
Gambia charges renegade generals with desertion

The Gambian army has filed desertion charges against two renegade generals who went into exile with former president Yahya Jammeh last year, the force told AFP on Wednesday.

General Umpa Mendy and General Ansumana Tamba sought refuge in Equatorial Guinea alongside Jammeh in January 2017 after his brutal 22-year rule came to an end.

Major Lamin Sanyang, an army spokesman, said the pair were "charged with desertion of duty contrary to the Gambia Armed Forces Act", and would appear before a general court martial on April 4.

Mendy was in personal charge of protecting the mercurial former leader, while Tamba was the head of his presidential guard.

The top brass left the country on board Jammeh's plane bound for exile in Equatorial Guinea on January 21, 2017.

The former president's refusal to step down after losing an election the month before to unknown businessman Adama Barrow pushed neighbouring countries to the brink of a military intervention, until Jammeh conceded at the 11th hour.

The generals' arrival caused controversy as airport staff waved them through without attempting to detain them for questioning.

Elements of The Gambia's armed forces are known to have maintained support for the former president and a number of soldiers are on trial on treason and mutiny charges for plotting to overthrow the country's newly elected government.

The country is still being secured by soldiers deployed by the ECOWAS regional grouping until reform of the security services is complete.

st-jom/ri

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