Gambia’s newly appointed army chief Lt. General Massaneh Kinteh has vowed to reconnect the country’s armed forces with Gambians, and carry out the necessary reforms.
“The government has got plans which aim at reforming,restructuring and transforming the armed force. I will spare no efforts to be able to get the reforms done,” he told reporters on Monday, shortly after taking over from CDS Ousman Bargie.
President Adama Barrow has picked Lt.General Massaneh Kinteh as his new army chief in replacement of Lt. General Ousman Bargie, putting an end to a week long speculations. The move follows an announcement by the Presidency to undertake a massive overhaul of the country’s
security apparatus. Last week, 9 former members of the feared National Intelligence Agency (NIA) officers linked to the death of opposition activist Solo Sandeng were charged with murder by a Gambian court.
Kinteh, who previously held the post from 10 October 2009 to 6 July 2012, said bringing confidence back in the troops will top his priorities.
“I want to make sure that the civil-military relationship returns to normalcy and get over this hurdle. Soldiers should see themselves as embodiment of protection, not oppression,” he said.
Lt. Gen. Kinteh said Gambians have hired the armed forces to be able to guard them. “It is left to soldiers to prove to civilian population that we are here to serve them. that relationship has to be recognized as it used to be before the 1994 military takeover.”
When this reporter asked about the fate of soldiers who were members of Yahya Jammeh’s death squad known as “Junglers”, he declined to comment. The “Junglers” are suspected by rights groups of having committed various crimes and were reportedly taking orders from the defeated longtime ruler.
While a good number of soldiers who took part in the Dec. 30 abortive coup are reinstated, army spokesperson Kemo Kanuteh, who spoke to reporters, disclosed that Brigadier General Savage, former Interior Minister Momodou Alieu Bah, among others, have been relieved from their respective post.
As reports accusing the new government of purging the army continue to resurface, Kanuteh challenged the veracity of these reports and said that no arrest was made.
The major shakeup in the army continues as ECOWAS troops are downsizing their number in the tiny West African nation. The new army boss has reiterated his commitment to lift the morale of the armed forces to higher heights…
Written By Abdoulie JOHN