Gambian police have detained ex-president Yahya Jammeh's former spy chief, the infamous Yankuba Badjie. The new regime is moving fast to clear out Jammeh's henchmen a few weeks after the end of 22 years of brutal rule.
Badjie has been in police custody since Monday, as has the National Intelligence Agency's (NIA) ex-director of operations, Sheikh Omar Jeng, police spokesman Foday Conta said on Wednesday.
Badjie was director general of the NIA, which rights groups say carried out arbitrary detention, forced disappearances and torture during Jammeh's 22-year rule which ended in late 2016 after he lost the election to current president, Adama Barrow (photo).
Jammeh fled into exile in Equatorial Guinea last month.
Badjie is "being investigated for certain things that happened during his stint at the NIA," a source speaking on condition of anonymity told the French news agency AFP.
He is alleged to have personally presided over many torture sessions at the NIA, in the form of rape, electric shock and severe beatings said to have been a common practice.
Badjie reportedly gave orders to torture protesters during peaceful demonstrations by a group of opposition supporters calling for electoral reform in April 2016.
He is also thought to have been responsible for the subsequent killings of the United Democratic Party's Organizing Secretary and deputy regional Chairman, respectively, Solo Sanderg and Solo Krumah.
NIA name change
Barrow has already changed the NIA's name to the State Intelligence Agency (SIA) and stripped it of its powers of arrest. The new administration plans staff retraining to limit the agency's brief to "intelligence gathering, analysis and advice to the relevant arms of government."
On Tuesday police brought criminal charges against 25 supporters of Jammeh's Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction Party (APRC) after it had attacked Barrow supporters earlier this month.
Gambian police said this week they had arrested 51 people in a former Jammeh stronghold for harassing Barrow's followers.
jbh/jm (Reuters, AFP)