Brigadier Generals Ansumana Tamba and Umpa Mendy, two soldiers who have fled the country for Equatorial Guinea with former president Yahya Jammeh, have been acquitted by court martial on Monday.
Court martial on Monday found the two generals not guilty on charges of deserting the army after leaving for Equatorial Guinea with the former president for a year.
The decision was reached by the court at the Yundum Barracks, few days after 8 soldiers are convicted for treason by the same court.
After the verdict, General Tamba told journalists he remains loyal to the Gambia and takes his trial as destiny.
“I felt very comfortable from the start because I know the kind of person I am and the love I have for this country. I served in the army for 30 years and I know what it takes to be a good citizen. I am today more ready to serve my nation more than ever before. I take what happened as destiny. I will urge other officers to continue serving in the interest of the nation without fear of favour,” said Ansumana Tamba.
The Monday court martial was packed with relatives of the two soldiers. One major criterion for desertion that the prosecution could not prove was that the two generals had shown intent to return even before leaving and had communicated it to some people.
The generals have said their names were included in a list of soldiers to accompany former president Jammeh to Equatorial Guinea and the list was brought to them by General Sulayman Badgie.
Mendy was the principal protection officer for former president Jammeh, while Tamba was the former head of the State Guards Battalion.
The two fled with former president Jammeh for Equatorial Guinea in January 2017 and returned unexpectedly in January 2018.
They have been arrested and charged with desertion barely a week following their return.
Jammeh, country’s former president who faces allegations of several killings and tortures now lives in Equatorial Guinea in exile.
Jammeh suffered an unexpected election defeat in December of 2016 to President Adama Barrow.