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Gambian president sacks justice minister

28 August 2013, 16:14

Banjul - Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has sacked his justice minister, the presidency announced, the fifth cabinet member removed this month in an increasingly ruthless shake-up.

Amie Joof was "fired from her post with immediate effect", the presidency said in a short statement released late on Tuesday, without giving a reason.

The president regularly reshuffles his cabinet in what many observers say is a sign of insecurity and runs several key ministries himself, including defence and religious affairs.

Last week, he fired his minister of regional governments and lands, and on 12 August the presidency announced that the transport, energy and education ministers had all been sacked.

Jammeh, who has ruled mainland Africa's smallest country with an aura of mysticism and an iron fist since seizing power in 1994, vowed ahead of his swearing-in for a fourth term last year to eradicate corruption.

Joof's predecessor Lamin Jobarteh is in custody awaiting trial after being sacked and charged in June over accusations he took bribes to have high-profile criminal cases dropped.

Petroleum minister Njogu Bah, regarded as one of Jammeh's most trusted ministers, was also taken into custody in June, just three days after he had been handed the portfolio.

Last year former information minister Amadou Scattred Janneh was sentenced to life in prison for treason for distributing T-shirts which featured the slogan "End to Dictatorship Now".

A sliver of land nestled within Senegal, Gambia has over the years also seen the arrest and jailing of a number of senior military and police officers for crimes relating to treason, drug trafficking and corruption.



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