Dozen soldiers to face charges in Gambia
A dozen Gambian soldiers will face charges for nine different offences, an army spokesman told AFP on Saturday, amid fears that a faction of the military remains loyal to ex-president Yahya Jammeh.
The charges were laid out at a court martial hearing held on Friday, where 12 officers were presented to a military panel and a civilian judge in a case shrouded in secrecy.
“Twelve army officers were arraigned before a court martial at Yundum barracks yesterday,” army spokesman Lamin Sanyang told AFP.
“They are charged with nine criminal counts, but for now I cannot go into the details,” he added.
Pleas will be entered on November 27, when the men are expected to be formally charged.
Separately, military sources told AFP the charges relate to sedition accusations and suspicions of loyalty to former President Jammeh, who ruled the small west African nation with an iron fist for 22 years.
A coalition of opposition parties fielded standard-bearer Adama Barrow as their candidate in December 2016 elections, who ultimately defeated Jammeh and took over the presidency in late January.
There have been concerns about lingering Jammeh supporters in the ranks of the army, evoked back in July by Colonel Magatte Ndiaye, the head of a Senegalese army contingent still deployed to The Gambia by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
He told AFP that rebel elements were intent on destabilising the country and working with exiled Jammeh-era top brass, though President Barrow has said such reports are “hugely exaggerated”.