The country’s security forces have come under intense criticisms from all angles after it emerged that two of Yahya Jammeh’s notorious henchmen stole into the country. Generals Ansumana Tamba & Umpah Mendy descended on the Banjul International Airport on Saturday, exactly one year after they accompanied Dictator Yahya Jammeh to Equatorial Guinea on exile.
Several Gambian bloggers and whistle-blowers on the social media vented their spleen on what is generally perceived to be a major security lapse at the airport, over the weekend. General Ansumana Tamba and Umpah Mendy are considered to be Yahya Jammeh’s trusted allies who have allegedly been linked to torture and extra-judicial killings.
Tamba and Mendy joined more than a dozen security agents to Malabo when the former president Yahya Jammeh stepped down. According to sources, life has not been rosy in exile considering the fact that the men and women who accompanied Jammeh and family found it very difficult to move in and out of Malabo.
Lamenting the security lapse, Buba Janha, a concerned Gambia told Gainako: ‘I don’t know how and why the security at the airport allowed such profile targets escape the airport gate’. The generals who swiftly descended at the airport went through the immigration protocols and drove to their respective homes, after an initial scare, the security forces responded and nabbed the generals who are presently detained at the Yundum Barracks.
Gainako’s further investigation into the story revealed that there may have been conspiracy at the airport security to allow these people to pass through unhindered. A list of passengers being circulated on that flight clearly indicates the names of these security personnel.
It is an open secret that people traveling to Gambia usually contact their connections on the ground to facilitate their easy access. The administration must investigate what happened and determined who were the people on duty and who facilitated or escorted these security personnel through security check points. Who stamped their passports and who helped clear their luggage. The administration will make a grave mistake if they take security lightly. Those who known or alleged to have inflicted harm and torture on Gambian citizens must be scrutinized and investigated. One would have expected that a list of Jammeh aides should be available to the security personnel to monitor their movement in and outside of the country. The security has some questions to answer and arresting these people is not suffice to address the security challenges.
Report file by Demba Baldeh courtesy of our Banjul correspondent.