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Gambia: Jammeh appoints pardoned coup plotter as Interior Minister

Gambia: Jammeh appoints pardoned coup plotter as Interior Minister


Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has appointed Momodou Alieu Bah, a former coup plotter to the position of Interior Minister. The appointment was announced on national television on Sunday.

The president had earlier sacked Ousman Sonko who had served in his government for the past 10 years as interior minister.

Alieu Momodou Bah was previously a top ranking member of the armed forces. He was sentenced in 2006 to 25 years in prison for involvement in a coup attempt. He was pardoned after his testimony for the prosecution at the trial of the Chief of Staff, General Lang Tombong Tamba, AFP reports.

The latter was sentenced to death in 2010 for treason, but has also benefited from a series of pardons decreed by President Jammeh in July 2015 for the 21st anniversary of his seizure of power through a bloodless coup.

Gambia goes to the polls in December to elect a president, incumbent Jammeh has expressed the intention to contest and is widely expected to win the polls.

The 50-year-old former military ruler has been in power since 1994 and has said he will rule for a billion years in response to proponents of term limits.

He sharply criticised suggestions that his tenure should be limited and pledged to continue being at the service of Gambians.

“This is a democracy and yet they speak of term limitations. Whichever western head of state or other leader wants to speak about term limitations… let them come to Gambia to talk to me,” Jammeh is quoted to have replied western leaders and rights groups.

The presidential election will take place on December 1 and will be followed by general elections on April 6, 2017.