By Omar Bah
The Gambia’s former chief of defence staff, Lt Gen Ousman Bargie has said that he is still receiving his monthly salary from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, despite the fact that his appointment was rescinded in February, 2018.
It was reported back in February that Dr Kujejatou Manneh, who was one time executive director of ActionAid International, The Gambia, had replaced Bargie, as The Gambia’s ambassador to Cuba. Consequently, on 7 March, Ambassador Manneh presented her letter of credence to the Cuban head of state.
But, General Bargie said he is unfazed by the curious case of his ambassadorial appointment.
“I am not in a hurry to go because I believe that the government is not deceiving me because the Barrow government I believe is not a government that will deceive its citizens. I am still optimistic that I would go, but even if things turn the other way round, I would not care. I am working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and receiving my salary every month,” he told Star FM recently.
Jammeh was prepared to fight
General Bargie also disclosed that the exiled former President Yahya Jammeh was ready to fight to cling onto power. “I maintain that my men were not going to fight and Jammeh knew about that. If it was not because of the help of God, the country would have been in turmoil because left to Jammeh alone, there would be war, and that would have been deadly. Some people thought the Gambia Armed Forces only have AK47s. But you will never know what a little rabbit has until you enter its hole,” he said cryptically.
He said the Gambian army has weapons “which one cannot find in the sub-region. Just to give you little synopsis, we have 40 barrels of 82 millimeter rocket launchers. We have more than two that are capable of reaching Guinea Bissau and we have people in the army who can operate them and the Ecomig General François Ndiaye is aware of that,” he added.
General Bargie added that “it was very challenging” to work with Jammeh as a CDS. “Sometimes as the CDS things will happen you will not even know. If he had left the armed forces alone, things would have been different.”
General Bargie also disclosed that there was a plot to assassinate him during the political impasse.
“I was putting on those jujus to save my life because there were two attempts on my life. It is only God Who saved me. It went to a point, I stopped going out with my bodyguards just to save their lives. I know those who were attempting to kill me but I will not disclose their names,” he alleged.
Bargie said he knew former President Jammeh was having the Junglers (killing squad) but they were not under his control. “They were directly answerable to the former president. I never took any step to ask him why he created the Junglers, because there was nothing I can do [about them]. The only available option I have was to resign and I attempt that on three occasions but it was rejected,” he added.
General Bargie said although General Saul Badjie was directly answerable to the president, all the other service chiefs were answerable to him, “But Saul never dared to cross my line and until I left I was in-charge of the army.”
On his connection to the UDP, the dominant political party in the ruling coalition, the former CDS said he supports the party”100 per cent” because [UDP leader] Ousainu Darboe is his minister. “I am UDP 100 per cent and I will put UDP pictures on my car and nobody can do anything about it. I am UDP today and tomorrow.”