President Adama Barrow has awarded dozens of men in uniform at McCarthy Square on Monday who have played a major role in preventing the country from plunging into conflict following the December 2016 presidential vote. Barrow gave the award as part of events marking the 54th anniversary of the country’s independence.
President Adama Barrow has decorated with “personal sacrifice award medal” dozens of Gambian soldiers who have played a major role in protecting the country during the political impasse following the December 2016 presidential elections.
Gambia was plunged into political crisis after its former dictator Yahya Jammeh refused to cede following his shocking election defeat. Jammeh claimed the polls were marred with irregularities and called for fresh vote.
During this period, it was believed that the soldiers based at the State House were loyal to him but there were several other soldiers who were not. Some of these people were not serving members of the army at the time.
However, they have extended an offer to protect the president elect Barrow. They were working with a group of civilians who were being referred to as the ‘coalition security’ to protect Barrow and his team.
The state at the time had not provided security to Barrow and never did until Jammeh left the country. Some members of the Coalition Security were also recruited into the army after Barrow came to power. They also benefited.
However, there were several serving members of the Gambian army who were also working to ensuring that the country’s army pledge loyalty to constitutional order.
Among these people, as was reported, were former army chief of defense staff Lieutenant General Ousman Badgie and his assistant deputy chief of defense staff Major General Yankuba Drammeh.
Also decorated were non-serving members of the army at the time of the impasse such as Mamat O Cham, currently the army commander and Lieutenant General Masanneh Kinteh who was ambassador of Gambia to Cuba.
“This is awarded in recognition of personal sacrifice made in contributing to the successful installation of the democratically elected Government of President Adama Barrow at great risk to personal safety, security and provision,” stated the citation of the award.