Adama Barrow, The Gambia’s new President, has vowed to reform the country’s intelligence agency and also ensure media freedom in the country.
Barrow spoke on Saturday at his first news conference since returning to the country to assume power.
Barrow announced plans to rename the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), a dreaded secret police accused by rights groups of forced disappearances and torture under the control of former leader Yahya Jammeh.
Barrow told reporters that the NIA was “an institution that has to continue”, but with a different name.
“The rule of the law, that will be the order of the day,” he said, adding that
training would be given to NIA’s operatives.
Barrow also said the country’s official name will no longer contain the word “Islamic”, which had been added by Jammeh in 2015.
The new president said The Gambia, whose population is 90 percent Muslim, with the rest Christian and animist, was a republic “not the Islamic republic”.
Jammeh, who ruled the small West African nation for 22 years and refused to give up power after losing the December 1 presidential election, eventually fled after facing strong opposition from regional leaders.