(JollofNews) – President Adama Barrow of the Gambia has used his interview with your JollofNews to reiterate his government’s intentions to tighten security at the country’s borders and ports.
Mr Barrow said the recent security lapse at the Banjul International Airport that allowed close aides of former President Yahya Jammeh to enter into the country unnoticed is not being taken lightly and necessary measures have been put up to prevent a similar incident from happening.
“It was a security failure.That is why we are reacting to what has happened,” the president told JollofNews Abdoulie John at State House, Banjul.
Last weekend, Gambians woke up to the alarming news that two wanted top military officers who accompanied President Jammeh to Equatorial Guinea last January, have managed to pass through airport security screening and reached their respective home before being arrested.
They are currently detained at the Yundum Barracks where they are said to be helping the authorities with their investigations.
The embarrassment has led to the suspension and transfer of a number of immigration officers who were posted at the airport.
The Gambian leader said since Wednesday all top security officers at the airport have been interdicted, and an investigation has been launched to shed light on what many observers have described as a major security breach.
“We admit that this was a failure on the part of the security officers posted there. We can always learn from our mistakes. We are working very hard to make sure that this will never happen again,” he added.
Asked whether his government is going to mount an indictment against the detained military officers, Mr Barrow said: “Let’s wait for the inquiry to give direction for this matter.”
The tiny West African nation is recovering from two decades of dictatorship by the Jammeh regime, during which the country’s security apparatus was used as a tool of oppression. The new government continues to face huge security challenges as a Whatsapp group of 12 military officers was recently uncovered three months back, and those involved are currently undergoing trial before a martial court.
The situation in Southern Senegal where 14 people were recently murdered by armed men believed to be linked with Movement of Democratic Forces in Casamance (MFDC) continue to raise serious security concerns in the Gambia.
Media reports suggest, that the dramatic incident has to do with illegal timber sale from Senegal to the Gambia, causing the destruction of the forest cover in Casamance.
Global Forest Watch reveals that out of Casamance 30,000 hectares of forest, more than 1 million trees have been wiped out a decade ago, posing a real threat to people livelihood. The Gambia’s 4,000 hectares of forest face risk of being destroyed by illegal loggers looting the forest in the sub-region.
Chinese companies established in the country have been exporting timbers to China over these past years as ex-Gambian leader was deeply involved in this mercantile activity.
While Gambia has already condemned the assassination of innocent civilians, President Barrow said his government has put a halt to illegal logging , adding that officers are posted permanently in all landing areas.
He said the involvement of former President in the sale of timber from neighbouring Casamance (Senegal) has complicated the issue as people still think it is normal to take profit from illegal trade.