US embassy cable - 96BANJUL2424

THE GAMBIA: JAMMEH'S VICTORY - VICTORY FOR THE MILITARY?

Identifier: 96BANJUL2424
Wikileaks: View 96BANJUL2424 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Banjul
Created: 1996-10-02 15:59:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: MCAP MOPS PGOV KDEM GA
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
P 021559Z OCT 96
FM AMEMBASSY BANJUL
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3772
INFO USEU BRUSSELS 0392
USCINCEUR VAIHINGEN GE//ETCC//
USDAO DAKAR SG
AMEMBASSY DAKAR 
UTAIS RAMSTEIN AB GE//INOW//
ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L BANJUL 002424 
 
DEPT FOR AF/W 
ALSO FOR AID 
DAKAR PASS TO PRAIA 
DAKAR FOR RSO, POLOFF 
LONDON FOR YOUNG 
PARIS FOR MORAN 
USEU FOR NAHAS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: OCTOBER 1, 2001 
TAGS: MCAP, MOPS, PGOV, KDEM, GA 
SUBJECT:  THE GAMBIA: JAMMEH'S VICTORY -  VICTORY FOR 
THE MILITARY? 
 
REF: (A) BANJUL 2394 
 
1. CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL OFFICER KIMBERLY KELLY, 
REASON 1.5 B & D 
 
2. (C) SUMMARY:  AS THE DUST SETTLES FROM THE 
ELECTION, MORE IS CREATED AS THE MILITARY TAKE TO THE 
STREETS, EVEN THOUGH JAMMEH DISSOLVED THE ARMED 
FORCES PROVISIONAL RULING COUNCIL. END SUMMARY. 
 
3. (C) THE PRESENCE OF SOLDIERS ON THE STREETS IN THE 
GREATER BANJUL AREA HAS INCREASED DRAMATICALLY IN THE 
PAST MONTH COMPARED TO WHAT WE HAVE SEEN HERE OVER 
THE PAST YEAR. DURING THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN, 
YAHYA JAMMEH WAS ALWAYS ACCOMPANIED BY A LARGE 
MILITARY BODYGUARD.  THE GAMBIA NATIONAL ARMY (GNA) 
COMMANDER, LT. COL. JATTA, WAS SEEN AT JAMMEH RALLIES 
WEARING JAMMEH COLORS.  SOLDIERS MADE IT NO SECRET 
WHO THE MILITARY SUPPORTED IN THE ELECTION. 
 
4. (C) THE MILITARY TOOK TO THE STREETS IN FULL FORCE 
ON SEPTEMBER 27 AND 28 IN CELEBRATION OF YAHYA 
JAMMEH'S VICTORY AT THE POLLS.  SEVERAL TRUCK LOADS 
OF SOLDIERS DROVE PAST THE EMBASSY, SHOUTING AND 
WAVING THEIR FISTS.  ONE ELECTION OBSERVER SAID IT IS 
AS IF THE MILITARY HAS NOW LEGITIMIZED ITSELF. 
 
5. (C) IN HIS ADDRESS TO THE NATION ON SATURDAY, 
SEPTEMBER 28, JAMMEH ANNOUNCED THE DISSOLUTION OF THE 
GOVERNMENT OF THE ARMED FORCES PROVISIONAL RULING 
COUNCIL, WHICH HAS BEEN THE GOVERNING BODY SINCE THE 
JULY 1994 COUP.  HE STATED THAT THE CABINET IS THE 
80LE PROVISIONAL GOVERNING BODY UNTIL SUCH TIME THAT 
THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY IN ELECTED. 
 
6. (C) COMMENT: IT APPEARS THAT THE SOLDIERS SEE 
JAMMEH'S VICTORY AS A VICTORY FOR THE MILITARY. 
THE MILITARY POWER THAT TRAVELLED WITH JAMMEH DURING 
HIS CAMPAIGN SERVED AS INTIMIDATION AS WELL AS 
PROTECTION (ALTHOUGH WHY HE WOULD NEED ANTI-AIRCRAFT 
GUNS (REFTEL) AS PROTECTION IS AN OPEN QUESTION). THE 
OVERT PRESENCE OF THE MILITARY ON THE STREETS HAS 
PROBABLY HELPED MAINTAIN THE CALM WE HAVE WITNESSED 
SINCE THE ELECTION.  WHETHER OR NOT IT WILL BE 
MAINTAINED ONCE THE SOLDIERS FINALLY GO BACK TO THE 
BARRACKS REMAINS TO BE SEEN. 
 
 
ROHN 

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