Gambia’s Army chief will stay in his position and continue his job according to Gambia’s new President Adama Barrow.
At a his first press conference on Saturday after returning home from Senegal where he was sworn-in at the Gambian embassy, President said: “The Chief of Defense Staff of Gambia Armed Forces Lt. Gen Ousman Bargie will continue with his job”.
Bargie was appointed as Army Chief in July 2012 by former President Yahya Jammeh. He replaced Lt. General Masanneh Kinteh, who was deployed to the Foreign Service and now back as Military aides to President Barrow.
President Barrow inherits Army Chief Bargie from the former administration of Yahya Jammeh.
Meanwhile, Gambian’s have been questioning the loyalty of the army chief to the new government after recent events and U-turns in support of former President Jammeh especially when he vowed to hang onto power even after his mandate ended.
President Barrow’s assertion has now clear the doubts and assured Gambians of his trust in him to lead the army.
It could be recalled that immediately after the election results where declared, Bargie pledged his loyalty and allegiance to President Barrow and was pictured celebrating with people on the streets of the capital.
A week later when former President Jammeh reversed his decision saying he is not accepting the results anymore, the Army chief also reversed his allegiance back to Mr Jammeh.
The Army Chief wrote a letter to then President Jammeh pledging allegiance and support.
“May I please seize this opportunity to renew to your Excellency the assurance of the unflinching loyalty and support of the Gambia Armed Forces,” General Ousman Badjie wrote in a letter to Jammeh published in the pro-government Daily Observer newspaper.
This prompted the West African regional bloc ECOWAS to place a stand by force on alert in case Jammeh attempts to stay in power after his mandate ends on January 19th.
Mr Jammeh then called the bloc’s stance “a declaration of war“. He ordered the same Army chief through the National Security Council to visit all military installations in the country to renew loyalty and stand for him as he vowed to hang onto power. He then warned Senegal not to attempt to attack the Gambia saying “I will kill you like animals”.
After heavy regional military where deployed heading to Gambia as the deadline for Mr Jammeh to go got nearer, Bargie shifted allegiance to President Barrow saying he would not engage his men in a battle with the troops from ECOMIG should the political impasse turn into force.
He said “I love my men” while posing for selfies with people while dressed in fatigues, beret and green T-Shirt.