Military authorities in Gambia arrested two of ex-strongman Yahya Jammeh’s generals when unexpectedly returned from exile over the weekend, the army said in a statement.
Gambia’s current President Adama Barrow was sworn in a year ago as a West African regional intervention force closed in on Banjul forcing Jammeh, who refused to accept defeat in elections, to flee to Equatorial Guinea.
Umpa Mendy, Jammeh’s principal protection officer and the former head of the State Guards Battalion Ansumana Tamba both accompanied the former leader into exile. The army statement said they flew back into Gambia on Sunday.
“They were arrested at their homes and are currently detained at Yundum Military Barracks, where they are helping the military police with investigations,” the statement said.
It did not say why the two men returned to Gambia or on what charges they had been arrested.
Barrow is still seeking to assert control following 22 years of Jammeh’s authoritarian rule under which the military served as a key pillar of a regime notorious for jailing and torturing political opponents.
The new government replaced or dismissed a number of senior military officers, some suspected of being members of a group called the Jungulars, which many Gambians say carried out killings on behalf of government.
The army still has many former supporters of Jammeh. Barrow’s allies have repeatedly warned that exiled officers were working to undermine the new government from abroad.