The Director General of the State Intelligence Services Ousman Sowe is currently touring the country, FREEDOM NEWSPAPER CAN REVEAL. Sowe has met with some village Alkalos and District Chiefs. He also handed cellular phones to the regional and community leaders he met during his tour.
It is not clear why the SIS DG is giving out cellular phones to Chiefs and Alkalos. Reports have it that the onetime discredited and widely feared intelligence agency—NIA is trying to establish strong ties with communities.
A former Gambian law enforcement official, who spoke to this medium, has alleged that public trust into the SIS is murky—given the past history of the institution. Agents linked to torture and persecution of Gambians during Jammeh’s rule still works there, he alleged.
The institution was formerly called the National Intelligence Agency. It was renamed as “The State Intelligence Services” shortly after Adama Barrow came to power.
The SIS has agents in the length and breadth of the country.
The former law enforcement officer claimed that he suspects that DG Sowe is trying to recruit Chiefs and Alkalos to serve as assets for the agency. He said the activities of Sowe in the rural areas is questionable by all standards.
The SIS’s intelligence collection and production have declined overtime, he alleges. He attributed this to lack of trust and confidence into spy agency by Gambians.
The SIS has underwent some security and operational reforms since the departure of Jammeh in 2017. Its agents have seized arresting Gambians willy-nilly. This was confirmed by DG Sowe himself in a recent press conference. He claimed that no Gambian has been arrested for the past year.
The former law enforcement official claimed that even the SIS station chief at the ports one Mr. Demba Sowe, wasn’t privy to the recent arms seizure.
“The intercepted arms belonging to Abubcarr Jawara, a supporter of the Barrow government was intercepted by the police and not the SIS. The state was even mad at the PIU officers, who were spotted in a social media video displaying the intercepted arms. They were not happy that a video footage of the intercepted arms was taken at the ports. The SIS agents at the ports were clueless as far as the intercepted arms were concerned,” the former law enforcement officer claimed.
DG Ousman Sowe has held various positions of leadership at the former NIA, now called SIS during Jammeh’s rule. He was Director of Operations before he was fired. He ended up working for a private bank prior to the change of government in 2016.
Sowe was hired to replace Yankuba Badjie, the former DG of the NIA. He was among the NIA Directors sent to the UK to study during Jammeh’s decade long rule.
The SIS Directorate could not be reached for comment.