A former army captain Ebrima Kambi said the country risk repeating its past mistakes if its military is not properly reformed, a semblance of which is yet to start.
A former captain in the Gambian army has told the Truth Commission probing the human rights violations of the former dictator Yahya Jammeh that the military institution of the country is still as it were left by former leader ruler.
Jammeh had reportedly destroyed the army as an institution making bogus promotions and creating some special units that respond to him directly, breaking the command structure in the force.
Thus, while the greater bulk of the army were unconnected to the abuses under him, his special units helped him presided over one of modern Africa’s dreaded old-school dictatorships.
Kambi, arrested and detained for about 2 years 6 months after the coup, has served the junta as State House Chief of Staff.
He said the country, despite talks of security sector reforms, still has bogus ranks in the army that were caused by former self-style dictator Jammeh.
“As far as I am concern, I have not seen any changes in the army. We still have the bogus ranks that were issued out by Yahya Jammeh to people who did not go through the courses… You cannot be a General without going through those courses. The army must be restructured from up there down. If our army is brigade strength, you cannot have a rank more than a brigade strength structured rank…,” said Kambi, the tenth Commission witness, on Thursday.
“There must not be a special units in army that answers directly to the President. Because when that happen, a sergeant at State House will not take command from a captain in the barracks as it happened under Jammeh… There has to be regimentation… If these things (reforms) are not addressed, the army will never move forward and this “never again” slogan will be repeated… People must be promoted base on merit… There are still bogus ranks in the army…”
Kambi, widely regarded as a brave soldier who served in Liberia during the civil war, said he was tortured at Mile 2 alongside dozens other senior army men.
He said words can’t describe the condition of prisoners at Mile 2 Security Wing where they were locked.
Kambi was charged with treason following his detention but acquitted and discharge by the court martial. They however refused to release him, thus prolonging his detention to 2 years, 6 months.