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SIS boss speaks on reforms

SIS boss speaks on reforms

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By Tabora Bojang

The Director General of the State Intelligence Services has said the fate of alleged perpetrators accused of carrying out abuses within his unit during the former regime will be decided by the TRRC.

Ousman Sowe made these remarks at a press conference yesterday in response to questions that perpetrators accused of human rights violations continue to hold influential positions within the institution.

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The NIA, which was reputed to have been a repressive arm of ex-president Yahya Jammeh, was among the security institutions probed by the TRRC following widespread accusations of abuses including torture, rape and dehumanizing treatments against citizens.

Asked why the ongoing reforms failed to overhaul alleged perpetrators from the system, Sowe who himself testified at the TRRC, replied: “We may be excused to comment on this [topic] but all I can say is that from 2017 to date, we did not carry out any form of excesses or violations. The TRRC is still an ongoing activity and they will submit their report, so the decision on what will happen regarding those [NIA agents] who are said to have participated in rights violations will be dealt with by the ongoing TRRC process.”

He said the institution has been working tirelessly from the change of government in 2017 to “holistically and strategically” initiate landmark changes focusing on refocusing, repositioning of the institution to effectively deliver its intelligence mandate under a democracy.

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“There is no one individual who has an overall control of a particular position. We [SIS] are inter-locked and from our overall supervisory role, we will not allow anyone to do harm. Everything is done according to the mandate of the service.  We are now focused on our principal mandate of collecting, processing and the dissemination of information.”

 DG Sowe, who worked for the NIA for 15 years, assured Gambians of the institution’s commitment to deliver service in the interest of national peace and stability, pledging that the newly born SIS will not violate citizens’ rights and liberties.

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