Gambian president Yayha Jammeh has begun recruiting mercenaries since his defeat at the polls, according to reports from Buzzfeed.
Reports say that Jammeh has been in contact with fighters used by former Liberian president Charles Taylor.
A former commander who fought for Taylor said, “Jammeh is ready to fight to the teeth and spend money to stay in power.”
The commander said Jammeh’s effort is being led by a former Liberian general and one-time Taylor loyalist who has recruited ex-fighters for other conflicts in West Africa.
According to the commander, he was briefed about the development by the general who personally met with Jammeh in Gambia in mid-December.
The former commander said, “There’s about 20,000 decommissioned [Liberian] soldiers and rebels throughout Liberia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Ivory Coast.
“They’re all very poor and living in refugee camps so many will take any chance to make some money with the skills they have, which is fighting.
“They don’t care what side of a fight they are on and will work with former enemies, nobody cares about this as long as they’re getting paid. That’s all that matters.”
A senior intelligence officer in Ivory Coast said recruitments were ongoing in the country and in Liberia.
“There’s a vast recruitment of ex-Ivorian militants and Liberian mercenaries underway, headed by former officers of Charles Taylor.
“These recruitments are taking place in southwestern Ivory Coast, around San Pedro, Grabo, Tai, and Toulepelu.
“There’s between 300 to 400 people who have signed up for a fee ranging between $100 to $300 a day.”
On Wednesday, the Gambian Army pledged loyalty to Jammeh who was defeated at the polls by Adama Barrow.
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