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Gambia has no knowledge of G. Bissau ex-army chief, minister

May 29, 2012, 1:32 PM | Article By: Baboucarr Senghore

The Gambia Immigration Department has denied media reports suggesting that former Guinea Bissau armed forces chief Jose Zamora Induta has fled, and arrived in the Gambia, along with elections commission chief Desejado Lima Da Costa and Fernando Gomes, who was interior minister up to last month’s coup.

“It is not to the knowledge of the Immigration Department,” assistant superintendent of police Ba Ensa Jawara, spokesperson for the Immigration Department told The Point yesterday.

“We have contacted all our entry points, and they have no knowledge about this,” Jawara added.

Media reports over the weekend quoted a local government official in Senegal saying Induta, who had voiced fears for his life after another top military official was assassinated, had arrived with three other people in the Casamance region earlier this week, and had since left for Gambia.

According to the Senegalese local government official, Induta and his companions had stayed in a hotel in the main Casamance town of Ziguinchor overnight Thursday, and had left for Banjul the following morning, denying earlier reports they had been arrested.

Reports also quoted a Guinea-Bissau army officer saying Induta had fled to Senegal along with elections commission chief Desejado Lima Da Costa and Fernando Gomes, who was interior minister in the government overthrown in the latest coup last month.

The Bissau army officer said all three had taken refuge in the European Union mission in the capital Bissau following the coup and had crossed the border into Senegal without authorisation.

A diplomatic source in Bissau who is close to Gomes said he and Induta had reportedly already arrived in Gambia, reports stated.

Induta was ousted as military chief two years ago by General Antonio Indaj, considered the man behind the April coup, which was launched in between the first and second rounds of a presidential election.

Induta sought refuge in the EU mission after the murder of former military intelligence chief Samba Djalo on the day of the first round vote on March 18.

He was joined there by Da Costa and Gomes after the April 12 coup.

Guinea Bissau army vowed last Wednesday to return to its barracks, after transitional authorities formed a new government including a colonel who joined the coup, but excluding the former ruling party.