The new president of The Gambia has renamed and changed the mandate of the feared National Intelligence Agency, an institution accused of killings and disappearances under the regime of ex-president Yahya Jammeh.
President Adama Barrow has renamed Gambia’s feared National Intelligence Agency to State Intelligence Services and stripped them of all powers to detain or torture people unconstitutionally.
The coalition of opposition parties that backed Barrow has made a campaign pledge to reform government institutions and respect human rights including enhancing press freedom in Gambia.
Human rights organizations have accused the NIA of killings and disappearances of Gambians under President Jammeh’s 22-year.
“The National Intelligence Services shall only deal with intelligence gathering and analyzing and to protect The Gambia from Internal and external threat,” a press release read over the state TV stated.
It added that the institution has “no more arrest, detain or undertake any activities that are unconstitutional especially with regards to human and civil rights in line with the government’s new dispensation for the New Gambia”.
President Jammeh has gone into exile in Equatorial Guinea after stepping down following country’s December 1 polls where he was given a shocking defeat.
Vehicles without no. plates
The government also issued a press release demanding a return of state vehicles that are in “unathorised hands.
They said there are “a lot of vehicles driving around without number plates and also lots of government vehicles in unauthorized hands as well as movement of vehicles without permission within and outside The Gambia”.
“Vehicles without number plates shall no longer be allowed to ply the roads starting Thursday without adequate proof of permission such as new vehicles in transit,” the release added.
The release stated that all people “with government vehicles without authority are requested to return them to their proper offices”, vehicle controllers or to the nearest police station.